he Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee voted on Monday to throw out several bills related to legalized sports betting in Maine and will now select several provisions to include in a recommended proposed law, which likely will include betting on mobile devices but prohibit gambling on youth sports and, potentially, video game competitions.
The state also will collect a tax on sports betting, although the proposed amount is unclear, the Press Herald reports.
Other provisions on the table would allow sports betting at off-track betting parlors or at high-stakes bingo halls operated by Native American tribes in Maine.
If legislation passes this year, Maine would join seven other states that have approved sports betting in the wake of the May 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned a federal law prohibiting states from legalizing betting on sports.
Montana recently became the first state to legalize sports betting in 2019, a Tennesse bill is expected to become law without the Governor's signature. Other states such as Illinois and Lousiana are also going through that same path, with the passing on proposals that still await full approval.
Milton Champion, the executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit, which regulates the state’s casino industry, has estimated that the state would only take in about $380,000 a year from the industry, based on $3.8 million in projected wagers.
Some lawmakers on the committee voiced concern about expanding gambling in Maine.
"I sure as heck don’t want somebody’s grocery money going towards this," said Rep. Josanne Dolloff, R-Rumford. Dolloff also said she was concerned children would be able to access gambling applications with mobile gambling and that more of a family’s time would be spent online.
But other lawmakers said some forms of sports betting, especially fantasy sports wagering, are already taking place in Maine and in order to gamble a person needed to show they were at least 18 and have a valid credit or debit card.
Sen. Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth, the committee’s Senate chairman, expects the panel to submit a bill for consideration by the full Legislature by late May.