It’s a sad day for sports betting in the state of Maine. Well, sad might be the wrong word as it might describe something that they lost. In fact, they never had it and they’re going to have to wait for it until at least 2021.
Although a number of nearby states have already legalized sports betting or are in the process of legalizing it, Maine has decided to pass on the gambling activity. What’s bizarre is that the bill had overwhelming support in the House last June and then also made it through the Senate, albeit by a smaller 19-15 margin. However, Democratic Governor Janet Mills’ vetoed the bill. The Senate had the ability to override the veto, which it did, but then the House needed to receive a two-thirds super majority to override the veto as well. While the override received 85 votes, it wasn’t the two-thirds majority as the final tally was 85-57.
Of course, one of the main reasons for the bill being vetoed isn’t anything logical; it’s just money. The state’s two casinos ramped up their lobbying efforts, getting employees of the casinos to contact lawmakers too, to tell them to side with the governor. Of course, the big concern is that the out-of-state mobile operators like FanDuel, DraftKings and others would be able to swoop in and capture a big chunk of the market.
In fairness to the casinos, it seems like their goal is not to entirely block out companies like FanDuel and DraftKings. Instead, they want them to be forced to partner with casinos, which is how things operate in many other states. That way the partnerships are viewed as win-win.
At any rate, the biggest loser is the sports bettor in the state of Maine. Of course, nobody is actually going to stop sports betting there but they’ll instead continue to look at offshore options, which are usually pretty good, and then stick with local bookies, which can be a bit risky.
As far as the future is concerned, expected to see a bill get through next year when the casinos and online operators are tethered together. Everyone should be onboard when that happens.