The abundance of public comments on Maine sports betting rules will most likely push its launch to 2024.
Maine Gaming Control Unit Executive Director Milton Champion initially thought ME sports betting could launch by June. However, Champion feels less optimistic after the full public comment period and minimal staff help.
Over 500 public comments to sort through
After closing the public comment period, Champion said there were roughly 580 comments from 24 different parties.
“I hate to be negative, but the process is the process. After coming out of the public hearing with no real comments, thinking this is great, now we’ll be lucky to have it done by January 2024.”
Champion and his lone staff member must sort through each comment to approve or reject them. According to Champion, an additional staff member, a deputy director, starts on Apr. 3 and will help push the process along. However, it might not be until May when a new round of rules is released.
Most of the comments revolve around advertising rules, including prohibiting the use of celebrity sportspeople on TV. “We have 580 some comments now, next we’ll get maybe 300 and then after that hopefully 100,” Champion said.
“As I mentioned, I’m definitely not changing a whole lot. I want to see some more pushback and rationale. People aren’t going to see my responses and rationale until this is all said and done. So I want to see how many rounds it takes to throw the towel.”
Maine sports betting launch initial prediction was 2024
The initial prediction by Champion was a 2024 launch following the legalization of sports betting by Gov. Janet Mills.
Maine’s sports betting law gives each of the four local tribes one online sports betting skin (website). Additionally, casinos and OTBs can run in-person sportsbooks. As for which operators might enter the state, Champion said he does not know.
With Massachusetts sports betting launching Friday, Maine will once again be on the outside looking in.