Maine Senate Overrides Gov. Mills’ Veto of Sports Betting Bill

  • Governor Mills vetoed the bill in January, stating that residents were not ready for sports betting  
  • Lawmakers voted 20-10 in favor of advancing LD 533 to the state House for consideration
  • Expected to pass, would legalize retail and online sports betting in the Pine Tree State


Maine State House
Maine’s Senate has voted 20-10 in favor of overriding Governor Janet Mills’ veto of a bill that would legalize sports betting in the Pine Tree State. [Image:]

Sports betting is one step closer

Maine’s Senate has overridden Governor Janet Mills’ veto of a bill that would legalize sports betting in the state.

Mills vetoed the sports betting bill in January, after the House and Senate both approved the measure. Lawmakers in the Pine Tree State have now overridden her veto to advance the bill to the House for consideration.

expected to pass when a vote takes place in the House

The bill is expected to pass when a vote takes place in the House, meaning Maine is now just one step away from becoming the latest state to make sports betting legal.

Mills vetoed LD 533 in January

Governor Mills vetoed Legislative Document 553 (LD 553) in January, claiming that residents of the state are not ready for sports betting. Despite vetoing the bill, she did praise it for attempting to bring sports betting out of the black market.

According to Governor Mills, she would rather see the state review sports betting in other states before moving forward with legalizing the option. She is concerned that the bill will not prevent young people from exposure to gambling via advertising.

The state Senate did not agree with her vetoing the bill, with lawmakers voting 20-10 in favor of overriding her decision. Senators were asked:

Shall this Bill become a law notwithstanding the objections of the Governor?”

Senator Louis Lucchini filed LD 553 last year. The bill was placed with the House Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee before it moved on to a full House and Senate vote for approval.

After reaching the governor’s desk, the bill sat in place for over six months. This is due to a constitutional clause in which the governor does not have to sign or veto a bill until 10 working days after the start of the next session.

Mills chose to veto the measure, but she could have done nothing, and it would have passed into law automatically.

Bill advances to the House

If passed by the House, the bill will allow sports betting to be offered at land-based casinos in Maine. This will include tribal casinos, off-track betting facilities, commercial casinos, and commercial racetracks.

Mobile betting will also be allowed, but operators will require a land-based partner to get started. Mobile sports betting operations will be taxed at a rate of 16%, while land-based operators have a lower tax rate of 10%.

Long-running review process

Sports betting legislation was considered in Maine throughout the year in 2019, with as many as five bills under review. In April 2019, the state was considering two bills and three more were in the draft stage at that point.

A bill introduced by Representative Jeffrey Evangelos would have allowed sports betting for those aged 21 or over via online and retail options. The tax rate in this bill was 25% and a license fee of $30,000. Educational programs would have benefited from this measure.

Representative Dustin White proposed a plan that would have allowed players aged 18 or over to take place wagers, but only in a retail setting. The tax rate and license fee for this plan was much lower as well. The plan proposed a tax rate of 18% and a license fee of $5,000.

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