Ahead of tonight’s State of the State address by Governor Janet Mills in Maine, the state Senate declined to take up a possible sports betting veto override. Mills in January vetoed sports betting legislation that passed both chambers last summer with little opposition. The legislature has until the close of the 129th Session in April to revisit sports betting.
Lawmakers continue to lobby for enough votes to override Mills’ veto, in which she said, “I remain unconvinced at this time that the majority of Maine people are ready to legalize, support, endorse and promote betting on competitive athletic events.”
The Maine legislature would need a two-thirds vote in both chambers to override the veto, and lawmakers are working to convince those who opposed the bill to come around. Since the legislature passed sports betting, neighboring New Hampshire legalized and went live with sports betting, which could sway some lawmakers into changing their votes. DraftKings launched its app in New Hampshire on Dec. 30, 2019, and since then, there has been plenty of betting throughout New Hampshire, including along the Maine border, in cities like Portsmouth, a vibrant, historic port town along the southeastern border.
Lawmakers have until April to act
Maine’s legislature opened the 129th second regular session on Jan. 8, and Mills had three days, until 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10 to sign, veto, or let the measure become law without her signature. She vetoed late in the day, and lawmakers initially seemed poised to take up the issue on Jan. 14, the next possible legislative day, but the vote was postponed because some lawmakers were not available, and on Jan. 16, the Senate session was cancelled due to snow.
Users near Maine border report inability to place bets through sports betting app https://t.co/UbdJsRPviP
— WMUR TV (@WMUR9) January 15, 2020
Now, it’s wait and watch, though some lawmakers think Mills’ veto will stand.
“I would expect that the veto will be sustained,” Democratic Senator Bill Diamond told NECN/NBC10 Boston last week. “Maine is a gambling state for sure, we just want to do it right.”