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Oct 2, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; A view of the Betting Area sign at Pimlico Race Course. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Maine took another step forward to the legalization of sports betting as the Maine Legal and Veteran Affairs committee settled on a sports betting bill to present to lawmakers last week.

However, before it can be moved forward to the main floor, the bill will be amended to require that all sports betting licenses be tethered to existing gaming facilities.

Tethering with Existing Gaming Facilities in Maine

The committee had considered four potential bills throughout its process before settling on Sen. Louis Luchini’s (D-7) LD1352 last week, which would allow for in-person and online sports betting in the state.

Luchini’s bill would allow licensed commercial track, off-track betting facilities, licensed slot machine facilities, casinos and federally recognized Indian tribes to apply for in-person sports betting licenses and online sports betting licenses.

However, Luchini’s original bill allowed for an uncapped amount of online sports betting licenses which would not have to be tethered or partnered to a brick-and-mortar facility. Several members of the committee raised concerns over the untethered aspect of Luchini’s bill and urged him to amend the regulations.

Rep. Chris Caiazzo (D-28) said he would likely vote against the bill if tethering was not included.

“I have constituents in my district who are strong proponents of tethering. While I can agree with almost every aspect of the bill as you’ve come through and negotiated it and put it together, it’s a great compromise and meets a lot of our needs, I’m hung up on the tethering issue. I really can’t be in a position to vote against my constituents, they’ve very adamant about the tethering issue,” he said.

Luchini agreed to amend the bill to include tethering. The exact details of available online skins for existing gaming facilities has not been decided.

What is Included in Maine’s Sports Betting Bill?

In addition to tethering, Luchini’s bill would include the following:

  • 16% tax rate on online sports betting.
  • 10% tax rate on in-person sports betting.
  • $100,000 online sports betting license fee for two years.
  • No betting on Maine college sports.
  • No advertising targeted to children.
  • Adding language provided by the NFL to prohibit objectionable bets that would put the integrity of the game at risk, such as bets on injuries or the color of Gatorade.

New York’s recently approved online sports betting plan is a tethered program.

The Maine State Legislature will end its legislative session on June 16, giving state lawmakers just a little over two weeks to sign a bill into law.

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