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Maine Sports Betting Moves Forward With Tethering Requirement

Maine has settled on its sports betting legislative vehicle for 2021.

The Maine Legal and Veteran Affairs met on Friday to discuss four sports betting bills filed this session.

By the end of the meeting, they pared to it down to one: Sen. Louis Luchini’s LD1352.

Tethering is still key topic

However, legislators asked for one crucial change to the bill; the addition of tethering.

Luchini’s bill previously offered potential licenses to any licensed gaming entity without needing them to be partnered with a local casino, racetrack or off-track betting parlor (OTB.)

That will be amended going forward to include tethering. The exact details are still to be written before the committee can move the bill to the main floor.

How many online betting skins for ME?

One tethering option suggested by Rep. Maryanne Kinney was three skins per local partner initially.

That would expand to unlimited skins in 24 months time.

Maine has two casinos, two race tracks and four OTBs. That would suggest 24 online skins available initially.

What else is in Luchini’s bill?

  • $100,000 fee for a two-year license.
  • 16% tax rate for mobile sports betting operators and 10% for retail properties.
  • No betting on ME colleges.
  • Language suggested by the NFL to ban betting on events with potential integrity concerns like penalties or color of Gatorade shower.
  • Language around protecting minors from sports betting advertising.

Is the Governor on board?

The last point about children seeing betting advertising was a reason Gov. Janet Mills vetoed the ME sports betting bill last year.

An override vote fell short in the House after Mills rallied her fellow Democrats.

The 2021 legislation from Lucchini would seem to allay her stated concerns.

Consensus reached on tethering

Regardless, the key issue remains tethering. The current gambling stakeholders appear unwilling to yield on that point.

But Lucchini was happy to compromise to make sure Maine actually passes sports betting this year.

He has made a “Herculean effort” just to get his bill to this point, fellow legislators said.

Keep tax dollars in ME

Maine only borders one US state, but it is one that makes sports betting easy for out-of-staters. Sports betting in New Hampshire is controlled by a DraftKings Sportsbook mobile monopoly that lets anyone register and place bets as soon as they cross the border.

NH made $11 million in tax in 2020.

To the North, Canada is also potentially legalizing sports betting. Many in Maine do not want potential tax dollars leaving the state.

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