Maine Internet Gambling Bill Returns, With Lawmakers Considering Higher 16% Operator Tax

A bill to legalize Maine internet gambling reemerged on Feb. 29, with House and Senate members agreeing in committee to change the proposed tax on iGaming operators partnering with tribes from 10% to 16%. In a 7-1 vote, the Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs approved an amended LD1777.

The five absent committee members have until March 4 to record their votes.

On Jan. 29. the committee tabled the bill so stakeholders could meet to discuss the Maine online casino bill. The results of those discussions yielded Maine’s tribes agreeing that the Maine Gambling Control Unit (GCU) is the most appropriate entity to regulate the proposed new sites.

Stakeholders also agreed to strike any language in LD1777 about the existing mobile sports betting marketplace. That way, nothing changes for the four sites allowed to partner with the state’s two commercial casinos.

State Rep. Laura D. Supica, D-Bangor, said the bill she proposed in 2023 can still change as it moves through the legislative process.

For instance, the proposed iGaming tax rate is now higher than the 10% paid by sports betting operators since that marketplace launched on Nov. 3, 2023.

The remaining objections to the bill primarily related to tribes being the only entities able to obtain an iGaming license under LD1777. Opponents said the state’s commercial casinos should also be able to buy operator licenses.

Those casinos are:

  • Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway Bangor
  • Oxford Casino Hotel, owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI)

Supica said the idea behind her bill was that the casinos could partner with the tribes and offer their apps through the tribes. However, that’s open to discussion as the bill progresses.

Updated Tax Rate

An earlier version of the story said the proposed operator tax rate was 25%, as was listed in proposed amendments. However, Supica told Bonus the final approved language coming out of the committee listed a 16% tax rate.

UPDATE: 03/05/24

All five absent committee members voted against the bill.

So the recorded vote is 7-6 in favor of the iGaming measure.

That means LD1777 comes out of the committee with seven votes affirming, “Ought to Pass As Amended.”

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].
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