Maine iGaming Bill Tabled But Not Dead in Unanimous Committee Vote

Maine could still see online casino gambling legalized in 2024. However, the Maine iGaming bill is on hold for at least two weeks while the state’s gaming regulators, stakeholders, and bill critics work out the details in a proposed amendment discussed on Jan. 29 in a committee.

Around 2:45 p.m. on Jan. 29, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs voted unanimously to table LD1777. The bill outlines rules allowing Maine’s tribes to offer legal online casino gambling.

The committee work session that began at 10:30 a.m. included a lengthy review of the Maine iGaming bill and its opposition before discussing the proposed amendment. The latter would fix issues regarding mismatches between the proposed legislation and amendments discussed that day relating to other gaming laws, among other suggestions.

Before the vote, committee chairman Craig Hickman said proponents of the amendment should spend the next two weeks working on creating a better presentation for lawmakers to consider. He joked that they may have “sleepless weekends” and “sleepless evenings” doing so.

State Rep. Laura D. Supica, D-Bangor, asked if the bill she introduced in 2023 and carried over into 2024 had a chance of survival:

Do you see a path forward with these technical fixes?

Milton Champion, the executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit (GCU), answered:

Absolutely. Yes.

Work to Be Done on Maine iGaming Bill

About 15 minutes before the committee voted to table the Maine iGaming bill, Hickman provided his take on the comments about LD1777.

State Sen. Hickman, D-Kennebec, said:

There probably is some more work to do.

Supica agreed:

I’m not fully prepared to pull together an amendment that I would feel confident supporting.

Champion had several suggestions.

First, he said the Maine iGaming bill may not be asking for enough revenue from online gambling operators:

I think your 10% might be a little low.

That tax rate matches what Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook pay the state now. The operators partnered with tribes, and Maine’s online sports betting marketplace launched on Nov. 3, 2023.

Champion told the committee on Jan. 29 that legal online casino gambling is taxed at higher rates than sports betting in other states.

He said lawmakers could review a study commissioned by Rhode Island before it legalized online casino gambling. That state’s marketplace is scheduled to launch on March 1.

Champion distributed the research to committee members, saying it addressed opponents’ primary objection to the bill during the Jan. 3 public hearing: possible revenue and job cannibalization.

He cited Rhode Island’s analysis of iGaming’s impact on brick-and-mortar casino revenue:

In almost every state, it’s not hurting brick and mortar at all.

It often augments retail casino revenue, he said.

Maine’s two commercial casinos generated $128.8 million in gross gaming revenue during 2022, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA).

Maine’s sportsbooks brought in $9,210,353 in GGR since the launch on Nov. 3, 2023, according to Legal Sports Report. LSR and Bonus are Catena Media publications.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
Back To Top

Get connected with us on Social Media