Nearly a year after the United States Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting, Maine is finally ready to join a host of other states that have already joined or are planning to join the industry which reportedly generates upwards of $150 billion every year. The state began the process late last week and not it seems that the only problems that the lawmakers are facing pertain to how and when to roll out the state’s regulated sports betting industry.
The lawmakers met with representatives from the state’s two casinos and off-track gambling parlors last Friday to discuss on the way forward for the much-anticipated arrival of sports betting. There is indeed a need for clarification with regards to the matter especially because of the fact that there is currently a total of five bills that are being circulated around the state’s Congress. Even so, things are going pretty well for the five legislation bills that are pending this session – even though there are some lawmakers that have raised concerns about sports betting, there is yet to be any organized opposition leveled against the bills.
Still, while setting up the legal sports betting industry in Maine may not be a complicated endeavor, there is the likelihood that the process may be a rather lengthy one simply because it may take a while for the lawmakers to debate on various details of the new gambling program.
Some of the issues that the lawmakers will have to agree on include tax revenues that will be obtained from the industry as well as how said tax revenue will be used – the tax rates are expected to fall somewhere between 7.5 and 36 percent.
More to Be Done
Maine has certainly come a long way but there is still much more that needs to be done. Last Friday, the state’s Veteran and Legal Affairs Committee accepted testimony on all the five bills and even though most of the attendees acknowledged the importance of sports betting, some have warned about overstating these benefits.
“There is only so much discretionary funds available, in my view, indicates that New England has or is very close to reaching its saturation point. It is essential, however, that we have the ability to offer what the competition offers. And by competition, I am referring to other states,” Milton Champion, the executive director of the Gambling Control Unit asserted during the hearing.
For now, all that interested parties can do is to wait and see how everything plays out. The tribal governments, for instance, are being considered to operate sports betting facilities in the state by at least three of five bills – it is either that or earmarking part of the gaming revenues to the tribes.