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Maine Gambling Expansion Will Have To Wait As Bills Get Tabled

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on May 31, 2023 - Last Updated on June 2, 2023
Facade of Maine State Capital Building where a couple bills to expand gambling have failed this year

A bill permitting Native American tribes in Maine to introduce retail casino gambling (LD 1944) died in committee just a week after introduced.

During last week’s sessions on May 22 and May 24, the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs postponed the bill. Rep. Ben Collings’ Act Regarding Tribal Gaming was tabled together with two other Maine gambling bills.

Governor rejects Maine’s previous tribal gambling bill

Rep. Ben Collings of Portland introduced the bill as a placeholder to keep the conversation going. Collings wanted to do it before Maine lawmakers addressed more significant issues of tribal sovereignty.

Last year, a tribal sovereignty bill had no vote, as the Maine state legislature adjourned without acting. Gov. Janet Mills said she would veto the legislation. Mills had already rejected Collings’ previous tribal gambling bill (LD 554).

According to Bonus.comMills wrote in her veto letter:

“This bill provides no predictability or meaningful limitations on where tribal gaming may occur, or on the size of each facility. The tribal gaming facilities that the legislation would authorize could be large or small, anything from a grand casino to a few slot machines in a convenience store, and the State and adjacent non-tribal communities would have little or no influence over their placement.”

Under federal law, LD 554 would have granted Wabanaki Alliance the same sovereignty afforded to over 500 other tribes. The alliance consists of four Wabanaki Nations federally recognized by the state, including:

  • Maliseet
  • Mi’kmaq
  • Penobscot
  • Passamoquoddy

Efforts to legalize online gambling in Maine have all failed

The state’s separate attempts to expand gambling have both failed.

Two proposed bills, HP 1275 and LD 1777, were tabled by the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs this week. And because of that, they likely won’t pass this year. In the meantime, the scheduled launch date for sports betting to go live keeps being pushed.

  • LD 1777, introduced by House Rep. Laura Supica, would have legalized online gambling in the state. The proposed bill would allow the tribes to partner with an online casino operator. If passed, LD 1777 would have imposed a mere 10% tax rate, making the state attractive to operators.
  • HP 1275, introduced by House Rep. Benjamin Collings on May 23, lasted one day before it died. The bill would legalize electronic beano (bingo) and HHR terminals. The bill would have authorized the use of bingo and HHR terminals by the state’s four tribes, although not exclusively. Also included were:
    • The state’s two commercial casinos
    • Two horse racetracks
    • Four off-track betting facilities

Both proposals would have been of great economic benefit to the state’s four Native American tribes. Plus, they would have provided Maine residents with new gambling options.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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