Although some residents of the state might have forgotten, legal Maine sports betting is indeed coming. On Wednesday, Maine’s lead gambling regulator gave an update on the progress toward making online sportsbooks available in the state.
At the same time, the Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) released its draft regulations for sports wagering. Mainers who would like to weigh in on that subject will get a chance to do so later this month.
Champion gives Maine sports betting update
After publicizing the draft rules, MGCU director Milt Champion spoke to the media on Wednesday morning. While Champion did not give any specific date for when online sportsbooks might go live in the state, he did speak to the issue of a general time frame.
According to David Sharp of the Associated Press, Champion would “like to see bets being placed this summer.” At the same time, Champion emphasized that he could not commit to any guarantees or specific dates.
Champion would like to start issuing licenses this spring. However, he said that is contingent on several factors like approval for the regulations from the state’s attorney general, Aaron M. Frey. Champion said the licensure process could run through this time next year.
That process begins now with submitting the rules for public comment.
Draft regulations largely uncontroversial
The 56-page draft of the proposed rules is now available for public comment. As Champion told the media during Wednesday’s press conference, there isn’t much outside of the norm or representing a deviation from the statutory parameters for sports betting in Maine in the document.
Mainers can submit their thoughts in writing to the MGCU until March 3 or take part in a Jan. 31 hearing on the regulations.
The law in Maine gives each of the four federally recognized tribes its own online and retail sports betting presence. They can choose to undertake that themselves or partner with an existing sportsbook operator to do that on their behalf.
In addition, casinos in Bangor and Oxford can apply for their own licenses for in-person wagering. Furthermore, off-track-betting sites and race tracks in the state can also apply for physical sportsbook licenses.
None of that will begin until the MGCU issues licenses and that won’t happen until the rules are final. The process of finalizing the regulations has now begun.