Maine Senate approves sports betting bill

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Senator speaks out against the law despite being the bill’s sponsor.

Despite opposition a Maine sports betting bill passed by 23-12 and is expected to be sent to the House immediately.

The Maine sports betting bill, LD1352, has passed through the state senate. This was achieved despite the legislation's own sponsor questioning the law.

Senator Louis Luchini had issue with an amendment added to the legislation during discussions, namely the bill's use of tethering, meaning that digital platforms will be required to be linked to a land-based establishment.

When Luchini first proposed LD 1352, there was no inclusion of a tethering requirement. However, after a hearing in the veterans and legal affairs committee, a last-minute amendment saw the clause added.

The legislation would allow for state-wide mobile betting.

A tax rate of 10% will be imposed on land-based wagering revenue and 15% for digital earnings.

While the inclusion of tethering was the most impactful amendment made before the vote, another saw license fees raised from $20,000 to $100,000 for two years.

Speaking on his issues with the amendment, Luchini said, “Tethering is bad for our constituents; it’s anti-competitive. It makes the casinos the gatekeepers of who will be able to operate in Maine.”

Unlike last year, the sports betting bill is supported by the state's casinos, tracks and other land-based betting establishments. Their issue in 2020 was the lack of tethering written into LD 1352. But with the latest amendment, it appears these stakeholders will support the bill.

Governor Janet Mills (pictured), who vetoed the 2020 sports betting bill, has expressed some concerns over the social impact of sports betting legalisation. However, the 2021 bill seemingly addresses these issues through limits on gaming and advertising.

Senator Luchini has said he and the governor have been working closely to develop the law.

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