No DraftKings or FanDuel in Maine? Not Quite, Says Gaming Boss

Written By J.R. Duren on July 13, 2022
DraftKings Fanduel Maine

It’s kind of ironic that Maine just might launch its sports betting market without two of the main players in the industry: DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.

According to a recent article from the Bangor Daily News, there are at least 12 entities who’ve reached out to the Maine Gambling Control Unit about sports betting. One of those parties includes the NFL. But curiously missing among the dozen organizations that have shown interest? FanDuel and DraftKings.

However, Maine Gambling Control Unit Executive Director Milton F. Champion told TheLines that DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook could very much be a part of Maine sports betting.

FanDuel and DraftKings not be interested in Maine?

Revenue is a big deal in sports betting– probably the biggest deal of when a sports betting operator considers entering a market.

When you’re talking about sports betting revenue in a state, you have to talk about two things:

  • How much handle (the dollar amount of bets placed) the state’s gamblers will generate
  • How much an operator stands to make from those bets.

Maine likely won’t generate much gross revenue on bets placed in the state (what the sports betting operator gets after bets are paid out) .

You only have to look south to New Hampshire, a state with roughly the same number of people as Maine and no pro sports teams. Since July 2020, retail and online sports betting has generated gross revenue of more than $6 million just twice: in November 2021 and January 2022.

Now consider this: DraftKings is the only mobile sports betting operator in the state. In Maine, there are four licenses up for grabs. The state will already have a relatively small gross gaming revenue from online wagers. And while DraftKings gets all of that revenue in New Hampshire, it would have to compete with– in theory– three other mobile operators in Maine.

With such a small amount of money up for grabs and three other operators to compete against, DraftKings and FanDuel may believe the cost is not worth the benefit in Maine.

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Here’s Why DraftKings or FanDuel could be the only operators in the state

Champion told The Lines that the tribes, in theory, have two options for bringing sports betting operators to the state. Each one can use the license available to them (“skin”) to sign an individual deal with a sports betting operator.

For example, it’s possible we could see something like this:

  • Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians: DraftKings Sportsbook
  • Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkokmikuk and Sipayik: FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Aroostook Band of Micmacs: BetMGM
  • Penobscot Nation: Caesars Sportsbook

In this case, Champion said, big operators like DraftKings and FanDuel may capture a majority of Maine’s sports betting handle, leaving the other tribes to fight for the leftovers. And this is certainly possible, as DraftKings and FanDuel already operator daily fantasy sports apps in Maine.

However, there’s a second, more interesting, option based on the language of Maine’s sports betting bill, Champion said.

The bill states that, “Each federally recognized Indian tribe may receive only one mobile sports wagering license under this section.”

“This is saying you may only have one skin per tribe,” Champion explained. “You may only have one, but it doesn’t say you can’t have one for all tribes.”

What’s that mean for Maine? Champion believes that all four tribes could band together under one skin and sign a deal with a single sports betting operator. So, instead of the tribes fighting for revenue, they can hire one operator and evenly divide the revenue.

“I have not had a discussion with the tribes about that,” Champion said. “That’s my opinion based on my experience in the industry. That’s something they can do either one way or the other.”

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has written for a wide variety of publications, both online and print, including Snooth, the Villages Daily Sun, Bespoke Post, Our Amazing Norway, and Barcelona Metropolitan. He has thrice been recognized as a winner of the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest.

View all posts by J.R. Duren