Maine Gambling Laws

Maine Gambling LawsWhile gambling in Maine played its part during the early developmental history of the state, for the most part, modern gambling in Maine is a young and rather under-developed industry. Perhaps that is because the state is in a transitional period between decades of gambling prohibition, and a new period of licensing-and-regulation.

Maine’s state residents, however, enjoy choices on which to spend their gambling entertainment dollar and new games seem to be available regularly.

Check-out the table below for Maine’s current environment on online gambling, sports betting laws, casinos online etc;

Gambling Type Legal Land-Based Legal Online
Sports Betting No No
Casinos Yes No
Fantasy Sports N/A Yes
eSports No No
Poker Yes No
Horse-Racing Yes Yes
Lottery Yes No
Charitable-Gambling Yes No

Maine Gambling Tax Rate

Maine has a 5% state tax on gambling winnings.

Large wins attract Federal taxes.

Maine Gambling Age

Gambling Type Age
Casinos 21
DFS 18
Horse-Racing 18
Lottery 18
Charitable-Gambling 16

Maine Sports Betting Laws

May 2018 was a turnaround month for legal sports betting in the US, when the U.S. Supreme Court turned legal nationwide gambling laws on their head. The Supreme Court effectively and efficiently turned the sports betting legality decision making process back onto state governments to pass their own individual state gambling laws, either choosing to prohibit the practice or gently legalizing sports betting for their citizens.

New Jersey and Nevada are the two leading and most developed states in terms of a legalized sports betting industry whilst Mississippi, Delaware and West Virginia joined the states enjoying the sports betting party throughout 2018.

Sports Betting in Maine

Betting on sports in Maine looks set to become under debate over the coming few months.

While there’s hope for legalized sports betting in Maine, don’t expect it until 2019. The great news is that Pine Tree State has two excellent land-based casinos ready to adopt sports betting.

Maine’s State Legislators will first need to craft and pass a new law in order to enter the sports betting fray. Multiple sports betting bills should be introduced when legislators reconvene in 2019 to cover off on administrative factors like sports betting taxes, and online sports betting.

Until then, the answers to the dual questions; ‘is sports betting legal in Maine?’ and ‘is online sports betting legal in Maine?’ are both a regrettable and unfortunate ’No’.

Online Sports Betting in Maine

Online Sports Betting is currently illegal in the state of Maine and the topic has not yet been broached by the state’s legislators.

We anticipate the question of legal sports betting online to be raised by the Maine State Legislature when debating and drafting the state’s sports betting legislation in 2019.

Until that time, the state of Maine accepts some forms of online gambling as legal. Online DFS and horse and greyhound racing online betting options are all completely 100% legal for Maine’s residents and visitors as an outlet for their online betting requirements.

Casinos in Maine

Maine’s State Government Statutes on Gambling make it very clear that bricks-and-mortar land-based casinos are perfectly legal.

Maine’s Land-based Casinos

After many years as a ‘racing-only’ gambling state, Maine’s voters cast their votes in favor of a lottery in 1974, and some 30 years later extended racetracks to become ‘racinos’ with video poker and slots with Maine State Legislature Bill LD 1371.

When revenue from the ‘racinos’ filled state coffers to bursting point, the state extended the idea to create 2 state-regulated land-based casino properties operating in Maine today with the bill LD 1897.

At Maine’s 2 casinos, you’ll find more than 1700 slots and over 40 table games.

Online Casinos in Maine

There are no specific online gambling laws banning online casinos in Maine. However, as in many states, the implicit understanding is, that as the legalities of an online casino are not mentioned as licensed and regulated in Maine, they are understood to be illegal.

Online players in Maine should abstain from playing all online casinos (both U.S.-based-online-casinos and off-shore online casinos) until a legalization of online casinos occurs.

For those players wishing to take part in gambling online currently in Maine, possibilities exist for online greyhound and horse racing betting and playing DFS competitions online.

Horse Racing Betting in Maine

Horse Racing is unique in Maine as it boasts a rich heritage existing exclusively of harness racing. Harness Racing in Maine is administered by the Maine State Harness Racing Commission and the sport continues to be one of the state’s greatest revenue generating industries. While Harness Racing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the lavish and much-loved racecourses and facilities on offer have been very much part of Maine’s gambling scene for almost 70 years.

Track Side: Maine has 2 Harness Racing tracks in addition to numerous county fair Harness Racing tracks that each host an annual race day (mostly during summer months).

Off-Track Betting (OTB): The State of Maine has network of 8 off-track betting locations where bets can be placed on all harness races in Maine and thoroughbred races nationwide.

Online Betting on Horse Racing in Maine: Racebooks available to Maine residents online have small first deposit requirements and are easy-to-use, offering online betting easily from your smartphone, smartwatch, tablet, other mobile device or home computer. Residents of Maine over the age of 18 have 100% legal access to online horse betting sites offering betting options on all the popular harness races in Maine, thoroughbred racing in the U.S. and major worldwide horse racing meetings.

Maine’s Daily Fantasy Sports Laws

Federal lawmakers in the United States have ruled that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) competitions are not gambling at all, however, they are skills-based games, not games of chance. Under U.S. Federal law, each state has been permitted to declare their own position on the legality of DFS competitions.

Maine’s Lawmakers did exactly that in the summer of 2017 and enacted and passed into law DFS legalization bill LD 1320. Since the passing the bill, all DFS sites are free to legally accept players from Maine.

DFS – An explanation of the phenomenon

DFS remains somewhat of mystery to many despite the fact almost 60 million people in the U.S. regularly play DFS. What is DFS exactly?

DFS betting is a very different style of sports betting to ‘traditional’ sports betting for a win/loss. Conversely, DFS betting involves drafting a team of players from the league of your choice. The NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, college basketball and football are all on offer and some DFS companies also Tournament Golf DFS competitions.

Each real-life pro athlete is priced determined on his/her perceived market value in their respective sports league and their value is usually based on the stats of their seasonal and all-time career performances.

If you wish to ‘buy’ the best goal tender in the NHL, for example, you’ll need to spend a significant percentage of your salary cap on that single star player. It’s simply not possible to draft a ‘dream’ team comprised entirely of star players. You will need to manage your budget, picking and choosing wisely to form a well-balanced and affordable team.

Once your team is selected, watch-and-see how the outcomes of the weekend’s games unfold. Your virtual team’s real-life players collect stats (TDs, strikeouts, goals, points, completions, hits, rebounds etc.) in the real-world games and as such, your fantasy league team accumulates points online.

The person whose team accumulates the most points, wins their DFS league, whether that is a daily, weekly, regular season or stand-alone playoff ‘league’ or competition.

Season-long, daily or weekly DFS competition winners can potentially receive as much as $1 million per competition, per major league.

Poker Laws in Maine

Poker in Maine, and unlicensed ‘Home’ Poker games and other forms of unlicensed games are played widely due to the state of Maine having a more open-minded approach to Poker than most states of the Union.

You can play live and video poker at the state’s casinos and social poker games are legal in Maine as long as no-one profits from organizing the game.

Online Poker Laws in Maine

Currently, Maine’s online players are unable to play Poker online, however, its not all bad news for the state’s potential online gamblers. The state has online betting options with DFS competitions and horse and greyhound racing available.

Given the State’s small population, Maine is considered to be a prime candidate for jackpot liquidity sharing with another small state (like Rhode Island or Delaware) once online poker becomes legalized.

Maine eSports Betting

When it finally arrives for Maine’s residents, legal eSports betting in the state should transform the gambling options available with new revolutionary ‘family-friendly’ forms of sports betting, untouched by a blemished legal history, led by eSports betting.

Why are ‘eSports’ so popular now?

Professional video game competitions, or ‘esports’, are a big thing these days. A huge scene has developed from within the underground gaming community to become a mainstream sport, and it’s growing at a rapid rate. Professional teams and players from around the world compete in leagues and tournaments that can offer prize pools worth millions of dollars. Most of these competitions attract massive audiences. Tens of thousands of people attend to watch live in packed stadiums, and there are many more millions more watching online.

The interest in esports is increasing all the time. Not only from those wanting to watch and play the games, but also from people who want to bet and win big on the professional video game contests. An increasing number of international sportsbooks offer competitive betting markets across all the major network of global eSports tournaments, as eSports betting grows rapidly now as a result of the exponential improvements in live video streaming technology.

Dota 2, StarCraft, Call of Duty, FIFA 18 and Overwatch, are the among the most popular games of the eSports world that the biggest pro teams compete for glory in and gamblers worldwide are cashing in on the action.

As sports betting becomes legal in Maine, we fully anticipate that eSports betting will lead the way in creating a new technologically-driven gambling landscape for the state’s residents to benefit from.

Benefits of Legal Gambling to Maine

  • Much of the funds raised from gambling goes to support services, infrastructure and education and healthcare systems in the state including;
    • Maine Community Colleges & Scholarships.
    • Native American Tribal Governments.
    • Maine Milk Pool.
    • Problem Gambling Programs.
    • Veterans Assistance Grant Fund.
    • Agricultural Fairs.
    • Fund for a Healthy Maine.
    • University of Maine and Maine Municipal Association scholarships.
    • Maine Depart of Education General Revenue Fund, and;
    • Dairy Industry Improvement Fund.
  • Maine’s two casinos provide more than 1500 direct jobs and more than 650 indirect jobs to the state’s residents, pay almost $100 million per year in taxes, and have a total impact of more than $250 million per annum.

History of Gambling in Maine

1950; First racetrack opens in Maine with thoroughbred-racing and switches to harness racing in 1972.

1974; Maine State Lottery tickets go on sale for the first time, and together with Vermont and New Hampshire offers the first multi-state lottery in the nation in 1985. Multi-state lotteries today form an integral part of the Maine gambling sector.

2004; Maine’s residents vote to approve the introduction of slots and video poker at state race tracks effectively transforming the tracks into ‘racinos’.

2010; State-wide referendum approves the building of 2 land-based casinos in Maine.

2017; DFS legalization bill LD 1320 passes Maine State Legislature, and online DFS competitions become legal in Maine.

2017; Voters reject a third land-based casino in Maine by a 83% to 17% vote.

2018; Announcement made that sports betting legalization bills will be introduced and debated when the Maine State Legislature reconvenes in 2019.



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