Sports betting has never been authorised in Maine until recently, when Gov. Mills signed bill LD 585 into law on May 2nd. As a result, Maine is getting closer to allowing internet sports betting throughout the state.
Despite Gov. Janet Mills’ signing of Maine’s sports betting bill into law on May 2, it will be some time before customers can make a bet in-person or through a mobile sports book.
“Maine is not Las Vegas; Maine is not Atlantic City. But that doesn’t make it lesser of a regulatory responsibility on my part, and so I’m going to make sure we get things done correctly,” Milton Champion, executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit, said Friday.
Milton Champion is the individual entrusted with drafting those suggested rules and regulations before any sports book in the state goes online.
He stated that two new jobs will be added to the department: a deputy director and an inspector in charge of supervising in-person sports books or lounges.
The sports betting statute goes into force on July 31, and Champion will be able to begin the application process for those two new posts at that time. It also signals the beginning of the time when he may begin formulating market regulations.
During a video interview on Friday, Champion said he understood the enthusiasm about sports betting in Maine, but he would not expedite the process simply because people want to bet.
While waiting for the bill to take effect, Champion said he would study how other states handled the regulatory process in order to place Maine in a favourable position.
“If [another state’s] law is particularly close to ours, I may venture in and take a look at their rules and see what they’ve done,” he added. “Obviously, we’re a little late in the game here in Maine, so I’m hoping to have lesser hiccups than other states have had.”
“Depending on that response and the pushback and how detailed that is, I may have to go back to the drawing board, republish new rules, have another hearing, or at least a 30-day time frame for written comment,” Champion said.
Despite the popularity of sports betting in other jurisdictions, Champion believes Maine will not make as much money. He estimates that the casinos produced about $60 million for the state last year and that the betting sector will not provide anything close to that sum.
The delay between the passage of the legislation and the first legal wager in Maine will be lengthier than in most other states that have allowed sports betting. New Hampshire, for example, began its sports betting market on December 30, 2019, following the passage of a measure in July.