Maine is known as Vacationland. It says so right on the state’s license plate. The state’s small towns, beaches, harbors, islands, and burgeoning food scene make it a stellar vacation destination. What could be better? Well, Maine is now on the verge of allowing legal sports betting in the state following the passage of LD 585 on the night of Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Governor Janet Mills officially signed the bill into law on May 2nd, 2022.
The proposed Maine sports betting bill managed to get by the Senate, 23-11, on the last possible night of the 2022 legislative session, just one week after it was advanced by the House. Maine Governor Janet Mills is up next to approve the bill, and is expected to do just that. If and when it gets cleared, the bill would grant online licenses to each of the state’s four federally recognized Indian tribes (Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac, & Maliseet), allowing them to partner with one commercial sportsbook brand apiece.
But despite all of the recent developments, it’s unlikely that mobile or retail betting will go live in Maine for quite some time. Representatives of the Maine Gambling Control Unit recently stressed that this is only the beginning of a rather lengthy process. Gambling in general is not a big thing in Maine, which has just 2 retail casinos, but if and when LD 585 is put into play, the state could see some major changes begin to take place.
Read on for more information about Maine’s ongoing legislative journey, which sportsbooks will come to Maine when legal wagering officially goes live, what’s happening in neighboring states, and more.
Maine Sportsbook Alternatives: Over/Under Player Props
What’s in the Maine sports betting bill?
We know that sports betting legalization has been debated and voted on by the legislature in Maine multiple times since 2019. We also know all of the details that were included in the 2021 version of the bill, LD 1352. Let’s take a look at the updated rules and regulations behind LD 585, Maine’s most recent attempt at legalizing sports betting in the state:
- Four online licenses will be distributed to each of the state’s Wabanki Nations, which include the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac, and Maliseet tribes.
- Each tribe can partner with one commercial sportsbook provider, setting up the market to feature just four online betting options.
- Each tribe will be required to pay a 10% tax on gaming revenue.
- License renewal will also be required, and will cost $200,000 every four years. Commercial partners will need to contribute $40,000 on top of that.
- Both of Maine’s retail casinos can apply for a sports betting license, however it will only include in-person wagering. Retail licenses will cost $4,000 to renew every four years.
- Four additional retail licenses will also be up for grabs, allowing off-track betting facilities and other tracks to submit a request if they wish to do so.
- Betting on in-state college teams will be prohibited.
- Minimum age of 21 to wager on sports.
- Bettors must be physically located in the state to wager, but can sign up for an account from anywhere.
- Remote registration will likely be allowed, but is not explicitly addressed in the bill.
Existing casinos in ME
|Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway||Penn National Gaming||Bangor|
|Oxford Casino||Churchill Downs, Inc.||Oxford|
As mentioned above, casino gambling is not a big deal in Maine. There are only two commercial casinos and six off-track betting facilities in the state. All of these facilities would be eligible for a retail sports betting license under LD 585, the most recent bill proposed by the legislature. It is reasonable to assume that each location will apply for a license, if and when sports betting is approved. Partnerships would likely then fall into place similar to other states that have seen big sportsbooks align with small gaming operators out of both strategic alignment and necessity.
Which sportsbooks will come to Maine when sports betting is legalized?
If legal sports betting in Maine arrives courtesy of LD 585, there will only be four (4) online sportsbook skins available to commercial providers. Each of the state’s four federally recognized tribes will have the option to pair up with a third party bookmaker that wishes to launch mobile betting in Maine via one of their licenses. If and when the legislation becomes official and licenses are distributed, expect the big players to start lining up fast.
On top of the four available mobile skins, the state’s six off-track betting facilities will each be able to apply for a retail gaming license, meaning they will likely also have the ability to partner with an existing sportsbook for any in-person betting operations. Here are some of the sportsbooks that we expect to make a push into Maine once sports betting is officially legalized:
- Barstool Sportsbook – Penn National owns the biggest casino in the state, and will most likely use it to house a retail Barstool Sportsbook at some point down the road. As far as mobile betting goes, they’ll need to fight for one of four available mobile skins just like the rest of the major players.
- DraftKings – Headquartered in nearby Boston and featured in nearly every U.S market, this industry leader will definitely make its way to Maine at some point.
- Bally Bet
- Caesars Sportsbook
- FOX Bet
Sports betting in Maine’s neighboring states/countries
Ok, yes *checks map* Maine only has one neighboring state and one neighboring country, but many states are close by. You can cover a lot of states in a short amount of time in the Northeast. For this section we will discuss the entire region, from Maine’s U.S neighbors to the Great White North.
Maine’s neighbor to the west and south has legal sports betting, but only via one operator. DraftKings won the contract to bring sports betting to New Hampshire under a state-run lottery-style model that sees 51% of the revenue generated by wagering go straight to the state’s coffers. DraftKings gets the other 49%. Nice deal for the state, less so for DraftKings. The real losers in the arrangement are sports bettors in the state who have to put up with inferior lines and limited promotions. On the plus side, you only need to be 18 years or older to bet.
The Bay State is a short drive from Maine and is home to the region’s mega-popular professional sports teams. Similar to Maine, sports betting has been debated in the Massachusetts state legislature for a few years now, but the process has always been derailed somewhere along the line. Industry observers believe, like Maine, sports betting will eventually come to Massachusetts, but when Bay Staters will be able to legally wager on their beloved sports teams is anyone’s guess.
Sports betting is also legal in Rhode Island, but, similar to New Hampshire, it is extremely limited and one operator controls mobile betting under an agreement with the state. There are two casinos with retail sportsbooks, and that’s it. Bad news for bettors, but at least it’s something.
Legislators in Connecticut grappled with whether to bring sports betting to their state for several years. They seemed close but were never able to close the deal, mostly due to the dynamics related to the two influential tribes in the state, both of which wanted to significantly influence how sports betting was regulated. That ended in 2021, when the legislature came to an agreement that allowed the two tribes and the state lottery to begin offering retail and online sports betting. This was not the worst result for bettors in the state, as they now have three quality operators to choose from in DraftKings, FanDuel, and SugarHouse.
The Empire State was previously only able to offer retail wagering at a handful of casinos upstate before eventually getting the green light to launch mobile sports betting on January 8, 2022. The initial launch saw six brands go live right out of the gate, including industry leaders such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars. Two more brands followed shortly after, and now the state awaits the launch of its ninth and final operator, Bally Bet. It’s been an incredible first year for sports betting in New York, and the state isn’t even close to reaching its peak.
Yes, Canada is a country, not a state. But it does border Maine. Millions of Canadians visit Maine each year and countless Mainers venture northeast to visit Quebec and New Brunswick. This is relevant because Canada just legalized single-game sports betting, and it is expected that both Quebec and New Brunswick will be offering single-game wagering sometime in the near future. Ontario was the first province to launch a brand new iGaming market since the legalization, and did so successfully on April 4, 2022. Now that the groundwork has been laid, it’s only a matter of time until the rest of Canada’s provinces and territories follow suit.
Sports betting history in Maine
Back in 2019, about a year after PASPA was overturned and states became able to legalize sports betting, the Maine legislature surprisingly passed a sports betting bill on the last day of its legislative session. The topic had been discussed a little bit during the session, but most observers figured they would wait and focus on it in 2020. Nope. The bill passed, but was not signed into law right away.
In most states, if a bill passed by the legislature is not signed by the governor within a certain amount of time, usually 10 days, it automatically becomes law. In Maine, after legislature passes a bill right before adjournment and the governor takes no action, the bill is held over until the next legislative session begins. That is what happened in 2019, so sports betting was in limbo for over 6 months.
When the 2020 legislative session began, Governor Mills did indeed exercise her veto power because she did not believe the citizens of Maine wanted to expand gambling options in the state. The legislature disagreed, and voted to override her veto. The Senate was able to do so, but the House came up just short, so the veto stood and legal sports betting was dead for at least the rest of the calendar year.
Fast forward to 2021 and the legislature decided to take another swing at sports betting in Maine. LD 1352 was introduced and passed by the House twice. It also passed the Senate, but was amended to include a tethering requirement, which means that an online sportsbook cannot operate on its own – instead, it needs to be “tethered to,” or affiliated with an existing casino or organization. The original sponsor of the bill, Senator Louis Luchini, is adamantly opposed to tethering and opposed the amendment, even though that meant opposing his own bill. In the end, after vigorous debate, the tethering requirement won out. In Maine, bills that generate revenue are required to go to the “Appropriations Table” for one last vote before going to the Governor. LD 1532 went to the Table but was never voted on and served (pun intended) to the Governor. We’re getting a little in the weeds here, but the bottom line is both the House and Senate passed the sports betting bill but the legislature adjourned before the bill was finalized and sent to the Governor, so sports betting was once again dead in Maine until at least 2022.
Sports betting bonuses at Maine sportsbooks
Once Maine officially launches online sports betting, residents of the state will finally be able to reap all of the benefits that come with a legalized, regulated iGaming market. For those who may be unfamiliar with the industry, all of the top bookmaking brands are constantly fighting for market share – meaning they’ll do whatever it takes to obtain a new customer. This is often done by offering new users a welcome bonus, or an incentive for signing up. Sportsbook bonuses are offered in many forms, from risk-free bets to deposit matches. We’ve got you covered with a breakdown of them all:
A risk-free bet is by far the most common new-user bonus offered by the majority of online sportsbooks. The promotional offering allows new players to place their first wager with essentially no risk, as the sportsbook will cover the damages if the wager goes south. Most sportsbooks have a specific cap, or limit, on how much money will be reimbursed if the initial bet loses, usually somewhere around the $250-$1000 range. If the bet wins, players will be paid out fully in cash, per usual. If the bet loses, the full amount of the original stake (up to the sportsbook’s capped amount) will be reimbursed in the form of either site credit or a free bet credit. Most sportsbooks will offer a free bet credit, which only pays out the winnings (not the stake) and must be used on one single wager. Site credit on the other hand is similar to cash, as it can be used in any increment and pays out both the stake and the winnings. Site credit is the much better reward when it comes to risk-free bets, but unfortunately few sportsbooks offer it.
Deposit matches are by far the best sportsbook bonus of them all. They provide both new and active users with some extra bankroll just for making a deposit. The most common example of a new user deposit match would be an even 100% match, meaning the player would receive double the amount that they put in. For example, if you deposit $250 into a sports betting account that is offering a 100% deposit match, you will start off with a bankroll of $500. In most cases, the deposit match is distributed as site credit and will require some sort of a rollover, or play-through requirement. Once that requirement is met, any leftover funds will become withdraw-able. Site credit often carries an expiration date, so always be sure of this and try to use it before it’s too late.
First bet match
A first bet match is essentially the same exact thing as a risk-free bet, except you get the reward win OR lose! Sportsbooks offering this promotion will allow players to place their first bet, up to a specific amount, and receive a 100% match on their stake, regardless of the bet’s outcome. First bet matches are typically paid out in the form of a free bet credit, just like a risk-free bet would if it were to lose. But unlike a risk-free bet, first bet matches allow players to win their initial wager and walk away with a juicy free bet credit – the best of both worlds. First bet matches may be a lot less common than some of the industry’s other welcome bonuses, but it’s more than clear as to why they rank among the best options for new players.
Free bet credits
If it hasn’t already been made clear, free bet credits are the go-to reward that most sportsbooks choose to distribute to their players. We’ve already mentioned that free bet credits are offered as reimbursement for most risk-free bets, along with most first bet matches. Some sportsbooks may offer a free bet credit upon sign up, even before a deposit is made – known as a “no deposit bonus”. Others might simply drop a free bet credit into an existing user’s account in order to keep them in their good graces. Some sportsbooks will even offer ‘Bet & Get’ style promotions that reward players with free bet credits if they wager on a specific game or event. Regardless of how you acquire them, always keep in mind that free bet credits do not pay out the stake (only the winnings), must be used on one single wager, and will expire if unused after a certain date. Always keep tabs on your free bets!
Banking options at Maine sportsbooks
While sports betting is still not legal in Maine just yet, we are here to help you prepare for what it will be like to legally wager on sports when you are allowed to do so. To that end, you’re going to need to open an account with the sportsbook of your choice and make a deposit before you can bet. Here are most of the ways you will be able to make withdrawals and deposits to and from the account of your favorite Maine sportsbook:
- ACH eCheck
- Online Banking
- Credit/Debit cards
- Cash at Casino Cage
- Bank Wire Transfer
Betting markets at Maine sportsbooks
A market is a bet offered by a sportsbook. The sportsbook “makes the market” by posting available wagering opportunities. One Patriots game can have over 100 different markets. Even a random Tuesday night Red Sox game usually has dozens of markets available on most sportsbooks. If you want to take the Patriots -7.5, that is a market. Under 44.5 total points would be another market, and so on. Here are the types of markets that will be available to sports bettors in Maine:
Additionally, sports bettors in Maine can expect to have a wide variety of sports to wager on. Sportsbooks in every state offer dozens of different sports worldwide. Everything from cricket to baseball is available. As an example, here is a list of some of the sports offered by our friends over at DraftKings:
- Aussie Rules Football
- Basketball (NBA and NCAA)
- Football (NFL and NCAA)
- Olympic sports (canoeing, gymnastics, swimming, rowing, etc.)
- Table tennis
Frequently Asked Questions
Is sports betting legal in Maine?
No. Sports betting is not legal in Maine at this time. Both the Senate and House recently passed LD 585, a bill that is expected to bring legal sports betting to Maine at some point in the near future. But until that bill is approved by the Governor and becomes official, fans of sports betting in Maine have to go to a neighboring state to legally place their wagers.
Which sportsbooks will be in Maine when sports betting is legalized?
If LD 585 is approved, it remains to be seen which brands will end up obtaining one of the four available online sports betting licenses in Maine. Expect all of the major players to make a push at getting in on one of the country’s more exclusive iGaming markets.
What is the difference between a legal sportsbook and an offshore sportsbook?
If you just looked at the online presence, there doesn’t appear to be much difference between an offshore sportsbook from a legal, regulated sportsbook. Once you get past the markets and promotions, you start to see many differences. Offshore sportsbooks offer deposits and withdrawals in bitcoin, for example, because they’re not approved to deal with credit card companies or U.S. banks. Nothing against cryptocurrencies, but legal sportsbooks keep all customer deposits in segregated accounts so there is no need to use crypto.
Got a question about your account? Try getting a straight answer from an offshore sportsbook. They already have your money so they have less motivation to help solve your problem. Withdrawals are also tougher and more complicated than they need to be. Compare that with a legal, regulated sportsbook that competes for your business. One bad experience with customer service and you will take your money elsewhere. Deposits are easy and withdrawals are just as easy, with many different options available. But the biggest difference are the regulations in place to guard against malfeasance. Offshore sportsbooks are offshore for a reason; they face little, if any, regulatory scrutiny. Sportsbooks here in the United States are regulated in each state in which they operate. State regulations protect bettors from being fleeced and guide all aspects of sportsbook operations. Bottom line: your money is safe in a legal, regulated sportsbook.