epresentative Scott Strom has added further weight to calls for the introduction of legal sports betting in the state of Maine, with an opinion guest column in the Bangor Daily News on Monday, two days ahead of the return of state legislature.
Co-sponsor of LD 553, the bill that aims to legalize sports wagering in Maine, he serves on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, which oversees gambling. The lawmaker says that the bill’s passage is an opportunity to protect Mainers and deliver a significant blow to illegal operators. LD 553 was approved by the Legislature on June 19, positioning Maine to join the 20 other U.S. jurisdictions that have legalized some form of sports betting.
Governor Janet Mills has three options for the state’s sports betting bill and must make a decision by Friday, January 10. She can choose to sign the Maine sports betting bill into law; take no action, which allows the bill to become law; or veto the bill, meaning the legislature must pass new legislation.
In his article in that local newspaper, Strom argued: “Nearly two years since the US Supreme Court overturned the law prohibiting sports wagering, Mainers are still left with only one option: the illegal market. Today, the illegal offshore sports wagering industry preys upon Mainers through deceptive advertising, confusing many into thinking they are wagering with a legal, regulated sportsbook.”
Scott Strom represents District 106 in the Maine House of Representatives.
“In reality, these sites take money from Mainers while providing no safeguards. Their money is constantly at risk and the illegal sportsbook operators do nothing in the way of identifying problem gambling and ensuring customers have access to valuable responsible gaming tools,” he added.
According to Strom, LD 553 will create a framework that requires all regulated sportsbook operators in Maine to conduct their business in a responsible manner, protecting bettors while delivering an “enjoyable, first-class experience that incentivizes individuals to leave the illegal market”.
“By looking to other states that have gone live with regulated sports wagering, one theme is clear: If we are serious about putting an end to the illegal market, then mobile sports wagering is critical. Nearly 85% of sports wagering activity in New Jersey and Pennsylvania takes place online, and this trend is consistent among other states that have recently begun regulating sports wagering," Strom said.
Close Maine neighbors New Hampshire and Rhode Island are already operating legal sports wagering.