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Maine Governor Says No to Legalized Sports Betting for Now

January 16, 2020

While eastern states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware are raking in amazing tax revenues from sports and online gambling proceeds, it looks like the state of Maine is going to take a pass for now. It's surely disappointing to a large number of gamblers who have been looking forward to the opportunity to bet on sports legally at some time in the future.

The message from Maine Governor Janet Mills was very clear, she is not ready to sign any bill related to sports or online betting now or perhaps anytime in the very near future. She has also made it very clear she is not a ready to move forward until a lot more time and effort is put into figuring just how such activities are going to affect state residents.

In a recent press release, this is exactly what Governor Mills had to offer: “[I am] unconvinced at this time that the majority of Maine people are ready to legalize, support, endorse and promote betting on competitive athletic events.”

As part of her press release, she stated that before she would be willing to reconsider her position, she wanted to see efforts made to stop current illegal sports betting activities that seem to be plaguing the state. She also offered her concerns about how legalizing sports betting for residents could end up causing issues for the state's younger population.

For now, the efforts of bill sponsor Senator Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth would seem to be dead in the water in spite of the bill's passage by the state senate in June of 2019. Here's an additional quote from the Governor Mills regarding the pressure that's being brought to bear to get a sports betting bill passed.

She stated: "We are also told that Maine needs to legalize sports gambling in order to preserve its existing market share in the betting industry. That premise is still speculative, and, in any event, merits a longer-term analysis given the constantly changing dynamics of gambling in New England.”

For sure, Governor Mills is looking to take a much more conservative approach to the legalization of sports betting when compared to her counterparts in other parts of the country. At this point, it's not clear what needs to get done to to get a bill past her desk. In the meantime, Maine residents will have the option of traveling to Rhode Island and maybe New Hampshire if they want to legally bet on sports events.


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