Two states in the northeast may soon allow sports betting with movements toward legalization occurring in Maine and Massachusetts.
In Maine legalized sports betting only needs a signature from Governor Janet Mills. The bill that legalizes sports betting in the state, LD 585 was taken off the Appropriations Table earlier this week. That was the final step needed before the bills can be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
LD 585 passed through both the Maine House of Representatives and the Senate last week. Under the bill four mobile sports licenses can be issued, one to each of the federally recognized native tribes in the state. There are also 10 retail licenses available that can be issued to casinos, racetracks and off-track betting shops.
All licenses will be good for four years. The cost for a mobile license will be $100,000, while retail licenses will cost $4,000. Sports betting revenue will be taxed at 10 percent.
While sports betting in Maine is just a pen stroke away, there’s still some work to do in Massachusetts. Late last week the state Senate Ways and Means Committee approved a bill that would legalize sports betting and passed it on to the full Senate.
The bill moving out of committee is positive news, but in its current form the bill may not be able to pass through both the state Senate and the State House. One major problem could be that the bill in the Senate does not allow betting on college sports. Last year House Speaker Ron Mariano was quoted as saying that a ban on college sports betting would probably be a deal breaker in the House.
There is also a major difference in how the Senate and the House would tax sports betting. The Senate bill would tax retail betting at 20 percent and mobile betting at 35 percent. Tax rates previously proposed by the House would see retail taxed at 12.5 percent and mobile at 15 percent.
The current legislative session ends on July 31, giving the Senate and the House plenty of time to negotiate a compromise on their differences.