Maine Sportsbooks Could Launch By November According To Gambling Director
Maine sports betting fans could potentially see their market live by November, according to Gambling Control Unit director Milt Champion. Champion is optimistic that the market could be live by Thanksgiving, allowing locals to bet on NFL odds for Thanksgiving Day games.
Caesars Sportsbook is currently the only operator with grounds to launch in the Pine Tree State. Caesars partnered with local tribes the Penobscot, Maliseet, and Micmac Nations, granting market access.
Maine Sportsbooks Incoming
The target for Champion is not farfetched. Sports betting regulations are currently in their public comment phase. This means the regulations are posted for locals to review and leave their comments on. The Gambling Control Unit will then review these comments before finalizing regulations with Maine sports betting.
Maine had to revise the sports betting regulations after the first set of rules posted in January yielded close to 600 public comments. The deadline for comments on this set of regulations is June 16. After that, lawmakers will send the rules to the attorney general for approval.
The attorney general will have up to 120 days to review and approve the rules. This would leave late October the timeframe for approval should the AG use the full 120 days. Even with this, Champion’s optimism has not wavered on a November launch.
“Best-case scenario, mid-November, we could go live,” he said. “We could be live by Thanksgiving. Even if the attorney general took the full 120 days, that still (enables) me to go live before Thanksgiving. What a great present that would be.”
This timeline, of course, is determined by the public comments phase. Hopefully, lawmakers are able to provide regulations that the public can support, allowing sports betting to advance without further delay.
“I think we have a good product at this point,” said Champion. “I just don’t see any rhyme or reason to prolong this anymore. But we’ll see how the comments come out.”
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Long Journey For Sports Betting In Maine
Sports betting has been legal in Maine since May 2, 2022, when Gov. Janet Mills signed the measure into law. This came two years after Mills vetoed a previous sports betting measure in 2020. Even as sports betting became legal, Maine has been slow to finalize regulations.
Multiple markets that have legalized after Maine have already gone live with sports betting. Notable markets include Ohio, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Maine’s slow launch process comes as the gambling unit aims for a smooth launch. Lawmakers were in no rush to simply push the market out, instead, have taken their time to iron out the final rules.
Locals could finally get their hands on sports betting ahead of the holiday season.