Maine Sports Betting Now Live with Caesars and DraftKings
Maine has officially entered the sports betting arena, with the first wagers being placed as of 9 a.m. on Friday, November 3.
This marks the culmination of a process that began with the legalization of sports betting in Maine by Governor Janet Mills (D) in August 2022. Now, bettors in the Pine Tree State can legally place bets at two online sportsbooks, Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings, with Maine retail sportsbooks coming in January.
The launch of the market is being overseen by the state’s Department of Public Safety and The Gambling Control Unit.
The small selection of operators, for now, is a consequence of the Tribal nature of the market and Maine’s small population. Many national sports betting operators were put off by the 50% revenue share deal with Maine’s Tribes, which they see as prohibitive to entering a smaller market.
Unlike the launch of Kentucky sports betting last month, there was no ceremonial ribbon-cutting launch, as no retail betting venues are currently open for business.
“The Mi’kmaq Nation is proud to launch mobile sports wagering in Maine jointly with the Penobscot Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, and Caesars Sportsbook,” said Chief Edward J. Peter-Paul of the Mi’kmaq Nation.
“We appreciate the work of the Maine State Legislature, the Governor, and the Maine Gambling Control Unit to bring sports betting to the state in a way that promotes gaming integrity and offers a vitally needed economic opportunity to each of the Wabanaki Nations.”
Two Operators for Now, Third Coming Soon
The two undeterred operators were Caesars and DraftKings. Caesars signed contracts with three of the state’s four tribes that were interested in sports betting. It inked deals with Wabanaki Nations, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Mi’kmaq Nation, and the Penobscot Nation, and its Maine sportsbook is now open for bets.
Meanwhile, DraftKings announced its late entry to the market this week, signing a last-minute deal with the Passamaquoddy Tribe. It is now also live in Maine for sports betting on mobile and desktop.
“Building a relationship with the Passamaquoddy Tribe is a fantastic opportunity for DraftKings, as we look to bring customers in the state of Maine safe and legal sports betting,” said DraftKings CEO and co-founder Jason Robins.
“We look forward to our continued collaboration with the Maine Gambling Control Unit, as we become the official mobile sports betting provider of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and launch in our industry-leading 25th state.”
The largest U.S. gambling operator, BetMGM, will also soon have a presence in Maine. It has plans to open two retail sportsbooks at off-track horse race betting venues in Bangor, Lewiston, Waterville, and Sanford. Retail betting should also be coming to the two Maine casino venues in Bangor and Oxford, with Penn Entertainment’s new ESPN Bet potentially a candidate for a retail ‘book.
Maine’s sports betting market is anticipated to be dominated by mobile and online wagering, which could account for 85% of the market share. Bettors must be 21 or over, and betting on Maine-based college sports teams is one of the few market exclusions.
This digital focus is expected to generate significant revenue for the state’s Native American tribes, who have been given control of the online sports betting market.
Maine Gambling Control Unit Director Milton Champion has previously said that he expects the market to be worth some $30 million to $60 million in revenues yearly. That translates to $3 million to $6 million in annual taxes.
The Tribes will collect 50% of the revenues from each sportsbook operation, with 40% going to the operators and 10% going to state taxes. Some 10% of the state’s portion will go to fund problem gambling help services.
For those looking for information on responsible gambling and problem patterns, resources such as 211 Maine and 1-800 GAMBLER are available to provide support and assistance.