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OLD ORCHARD BEACH, MAINE - AUGUST 25: The IRONMAN logo with a lobster near the finish line in the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Maine on August 25, 2019 in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Maine triathlon leads athletes along a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run throughout the New England countryside. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images for IRONMAN/AFP (Photo by Maddie Meyer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Maine lawmakers are proceeding with a bill that would allow legal and regulated sports betting in the state. 

Bill LD 585 was passed by the Judiciary Committee with an 8-6 vote Wednesday, March 16. The bill would create four mobile licenses for the state’s federally recognized tribes, and an amendment during Wednesday’s discussions added additional retail sportsbooks licenses for commercial gaming operators in the state.

It’s worth adding Bill LD1352 is still on the Special Appropriations Table from last year’s legislative session, which would also legalize sports betting. However, it never gained significant momentum, and isn’t expected to have the support of Governor Janet Mills.

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The House and Senate will take up bill LD 585, and then Gov. Mills will need to sign off, and he’s previously vetoed a sports betting proposal.

However, Mills’ general counsel Gerald Reid recently noted, "This proposal would provide a significant economic opportunity that brings with it none of the controversy that has historically been associated with new casino development."

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Currently, it’s estimated that 85 percent of future sports bets in Maine would be placed through online sportsbooks, and the current bill on the table would give the online markets to the Indigenous tribes in Maine. 

The Wabanaki Nations consisting of the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Micmac and Houlton Band of Maliseet would set up online sports gambling markets with regulations and taxes on bets placed on professional sports.

It’s important to note that bill LD 585 would not allow popular sportsbooks FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and others to launch their popular sports betting apps in the state.

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