The main event for prospective sports bettors in Maine could be weeks away. While online sports betting could soon become a main attraction in the state, some of the main centers for in-person sports betting might not be ready to make such gambling their main focus.
Mainly, the potential delays are due to logistics at some off-track betting sites (OTBs) in Maine. That might limit options for people who want a physical sportsbook experience. Options for online betting in Maine appear to be an area of concern, too.
Gambling regulator expects November kickoff for Maine sports betting
Drew Bonifant of the Portland Herald-Press put in a recent inquiry to Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) executive director Milt Champion. Bonifant reported that Champion “said Friday in written responses…that he expects Maine to go live in November.”
Champion explained what remains for officials to do. For the most part, the remaining work aligns with earlier expectations. That includes the finalization of regulations and awarding of licenses. After sportsbooks (hopefully) pass inspections, the MGCU can issue final authorizations for books to start taking bets.
The only prominent operator that has applied for a license is Caesars Sportsbook. Champion noted, however, that BetMGM Sportsbook has a commercial agreement with two tribal gaming authorities in Maine.
BetMGM has yet to apply for a license, according to Champion. That puts in doubt whether it will be available at the first opportunity next month. Some brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are anticipating delays as well.
Some OTBs may not be ready to take sports bets next month
Bonifant also shares that some OTBs and racetracks around Maine are taking longer than some might like to get their infrastructure ready to expand gambling offerings. Those include locations in Cumberland, Sanford, and Waterville, says Bonifant.
The Cumberland Fairgrounds track is relocating altogether. For that reason, a timeline of when the new facility will be complete with a physical sportsbook is uncertain. Relocation is also underway for the Favorites OTB in Waterville.
However, Favorites officials expect to have sports betting available in December or sometime early next year. There are no official timelines for potential sports betting activities at OTBs in Bangor and Lewiston.
The same goes for tribal casinos in Bangor and Oxford. Announcements about in-person sports betting at those locations may be forthcoming soon. If legal Maine sports betting does become available for the first time in November, it might be a mere shell of its future potential.
However, just the fact that it is available is the main thing to keep in mind.