Maine lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow tribes to offer casino gambling in the state.
It’s a battle that has been going on for decades and is part of Maine tribes’ fight for sovereignty. Representative Ben Collings has introduced a placeholder bill that will go for consideration after lawmakers debate a tribal sovereignty bill.
Reservations in the state currently are treated like municipalities, which have to adhere to state laws. Federally recognized tribes in some other states are deemed to be sovereign nations and are often free to provide casino gambling even if commercial gaming is illegal in their state.
would permit the state to negotiate with any tribes that want to have a casino on their land
Noting that sovereignty is still the number one priority, Collings believes that tribes could benefit greatly from casino gambling. The new tribal gaming bill would permit the state to negotiate with any tribes that want to have a casino on their land.
It would also include a provision to allow tribes to propose opening casinos on non-tribal land. The only excluded areas would be Oxford and Penobscot counties, as the state’s two commercial casinos are in these jurisdictions.
Maine tribes already have exclusive control over the online sports betting market. The state’s gambling commission is in the process of developing the framework for the sector. Another recent bill, still up for discussion, would give Maine tribes exclusive rights to operate online casinos.