The long-awaited legal mobile sports betting industry in Maine has an official launch date. After Gov. Janet Mills signed online sports wagering legislation in May 2022, and it became law on August 2, 2022, the wait ends Friday for hopeful Maine sports bettors who will soon be able to access some of our best sports betting sites.
The 15-month rollout of legalizing Maine's sports betting platform included an extended public hearing timeline and a rule-making process that took longer than most of the other 35-plus legal sports betting jurisdictions in the American market.
Spokesperson Shannon Moss of the Maine Department of Public Safety's Gambling Control Unit says that, as of Nov. 1, “licensed operators and their management service providers and suppliers will be able to start pre-launch advertising to accept registrations and account deposits up to the go-live date.” That go-live date is Nov. 3, 2023.
Now for the what's and where's
We now know when Maine sports betting apps will launch. But what about the what's and where's? For now, Caesars Sportsbook will be the only Maine sports betting site active. More are expected soon but will not be up and running to take advantage of Week 9 of the NFL season.
Governor Mills handed over control of the state's mobile sports betting platform to the Native American Tribes of Maine, and Caesars has partnered with three tribes in the state. A fourth is yet to be announced.
There is retail sports betting in the state already, in partnership with the state's Native Tribes. Oxford Casino and Hollywood Casino each have sportsbooks among the seven retail sports betting locations in the state. There are also four off-track betting locations scattered throughout Maine, and Cumberland Fairgrounds has the right to take legal retail sports wagers.
However, adding the Maine sports betting apps on Friday is expected to pour rocket fuel on the state’s wagering scene. It is expected to account for 85% of the overall sports betting activity in the state.
Which national sportsbooks will move in on Maine remains to be seen. The state ranks 42nd in the country in population with 1.36 million residents, has zero professional sports teams, and just one D-1 college sports program — the Maine Black Bears.
The market in Maine is small, leading to speculation that some of the more prominent providers from our best sports betting apps may skip the state as their next location.
What it will take to place a legal sports bet in Maine
Under Maine law, potential sports bettors in the state will need to be at least 21 years of age and be within state lines to place a wager. Non-residents can place a sports betting in the state so long as they are physically within state lines at the time of their wager.
Unfortunately for now, wagers on college sports are prohibited in Maine under the law.
The benefits to Maine
Maine becomes the second-last of the New England states to launch their own legal sports betting platform. Vermont will be the only New England state without a sports wagering scene as of Friday.
So far, the industries in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and, most recently, Massachusetts have enjoyed success with their sports betting platforms. The sports betting providers there are strong, and the tax benefits for the participating states have been valuable.
The Maine platform, poised to be one of the smallest markets in the country, is expected to create jobs, as well as between $3.8 million and $6.9 million in tax revenue for the state. Online casinos will pay a $200,000 licensing fee for four years, and the tax rate for online casinos has been set at 10%.