Maine Tribal Online Gambling Bill Had Brief Glimmer of Hope Before Its Rejection

  • The Senate approved the bill before the House rejected it once more
  • The tribes would have benefited by about $100m over the coming years
  • Opposition believed iGaming would hurt commercial casinos in the state
Clock that reads LAST CHANCE
A bill that aimed to legalize online gambling in Maine and give control to tribes passed the Senate on Tuesday before failing in the House. [Image:]

Dead in the water

For a moment, a bill that would give tribes in Maine exclusive rights to offer online gambling looked like it was given a last-ditch chance after its initial rejection.

narrowly fell short of the necessary support in the House

Senator Mattie Daughtry requested that lawmakers in the House and Senate reconsider the matter on Tuesday despite originally voting against it. The Senate proceeded to pass the bill before it narrowly fell short of the necessary support in the House just a few hours later on a vote of 70-75.

The Wabanaki tribes in the state already operate legal sportsbooks and under the proposal, they would also be able to offer online casino games and poker. The initial rejection in both chambers came last week.

A lucrative proposal

The expansion of online gambling was an important issue for the tribes as the ability to improve economic development would help them achieve their ultimate goal of self-determination. Maine’s situation is unique as tribes in the state get treated more like municipalities rather than sovereign nations as a result of previous agreements.

bill estimated that the tribes would benefit to the tune of $100m

The bill estimated that the tribes would benefit to the tune of $100m over the coming years if it passed. They planned to put all of the revenue back into the local economy and believed that this approach would benefit surrounding districts and the entire state, rather than having profits leaving through commercial businesses.

The plan was to use the resulting tax revenue to help fund gambling addiction treatment, emergency houses, and improvements to 911 systems. DraftKings and Caesars were already in line to operate the platforms as they have existing sports betting agreements with the tribes.

Not enough support

Many who opposed the expansion claimed that iGaming legalization would hurt commercial casinos and this could lead to job losses. Others had concerns about the potential increase in problem gambling if games of chance became more readily available to people.

After the failure of the online gambling bill in Maine, no state will launch iGaming as a result of legislation in 2024.

One big naysayer was the Maine Gambling Control Board Chairman Steve Silver. He didn’t want the tribes to have exclusivity over licenses due to what he thought would be the knock-on effect on the two commercial casinos in the state. He also had concerns about introducing “a highly addictive product into the state.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *