Maine used to be an anti-gambling state, but the political climate around games of chance changed in the noughties as new gambling-friendly regulations were passed. The local lawmakers started by allowing slot games at the racetracks in 2004, but the push for more regulated gambling didn’t stop there, and in 2012 the first Maine casino opened its doors to the general public.
Maine does not have a large gambling industry, but the local gambling facilities do cover most of the essential bases. Local gambling enthusiasts are free to engage in pari-mutuel betting (legalized in 1935), to participate in lottery games (1973), to play bingo (1975), and to enjoy popular casino games and poker (2003). State-sanctioned online gambling options are limited to paid-entry DFS contests, but this is likely to change thanks to a bipartisan sports betting bill, which will likely go into effect in September 2019.
Maine Gambling Law Summary
Maine Revised Statutes define gambling as “staking or risking something of value on the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event, with the intent to receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.” This definition is broad enough to cover Internet games but isn’t as relevant to individual gamblers as in other states. This is because the offense of unlawful gambling is defined as “intentionally or knowingly advancing or profiting from unlawful gambling activity.”
Thus, participating in an unlawful game as a player isn’t enough to get a person convicted on an illegal gambling charge, which is a good thing since the penalty can range from one to three years in prison. There is only one exception to this rule, as a person can be found guilty of unlawful gambling if that person is under 21 years of age and plays a slot machine.
Most gambling-related matters are covered in Maine Revised Statute, Title 8: Amusements, and Sports. The minimum gambling age is 18 for lottery, bingo, and pari-mutuel betting, and 21 for casino-style games, including poker.
|Land-Based Gambling||Yes||Pari-mutuel betting and casinos|
|Online Gambling||Yes||DFS, horse race betting, and skill games are available|
|Charitable Gaming||Yes||Bingo only|
|Minimum Gambling Age||18 for pari-mutuel, bingo, and lotteries; 21 for casinos|
Online Gambling in Maine
Aside from casino-style games, Maine residents are allowed to engage in some forms of charitable gambling, pari-mutuel wagering, and state-controlled lotto games. Maine doesn’t have an intrastate online gambling industry, so for the time being, internet gambling enthusiasts have to stick to offshore sites.
Maine Code clearly states that taking part in an unlicensed game of chance as a player isn’t considered a criminal act, which means that Maine residents and visitors can’t be fined or put in jail for playing on offshore iGaming sites regardless of their legal status.
As a result, Maine residents are in a better situation than people from most US states because the local regulations aren’t ambiguous when it comes to outlining what individual gamblers are allowed to do.
Casino games were introduced to Maine in 2003, following a popular referendum. On the state level, slot machines were approved at Bangor and Scarborough, but the residents of Scarborough voted against gambling in their city. The Bangor facility was purchased by Penn National Gaming and is now known as Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor. In 2010, another gambling referendum authorized the construction of the Oxford Casino in Oxford, and in 2011, casino regulations were amended to allow table games at Bangor.
There are four federally recognized tribes in Maine, but they are not allowed to operate casinos because the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act subjects them to state law. Thus, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not apply in the Pine Tree State.
Maine residents do not have access to any state-sanctioned online casino options. Local regulations prohibit offshore sites from offering their services in Maine, but the law is directed at operators and those who promote gambling instead of individual players.
Hollywood Casino Bangor owns the only live poker room in Maine. It operates four tables, which run No-Limit Hold’em daily with the stakes ranging from $1/$2 to $5/$10. The Bangor poker room also hosts $80 and $100 buy-in tournaments on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Unfortunately, Maine-based poker enthusiasts do not have access to any legal online poker platforms. Offshore sites are prohibited from offering their services to Maine residents, but just like in the case of online casino play, the regulations are designed to penalize operators instead of individual players.
Maine Sports Betting
Sports betting is currently illegal in Maine, but this is about to change thanks to a miracle bill, which managed to clear the Joint Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs and both chambers of Maine’s legislature in the final two days of the 2019 legislative session. Sponsored by Sen. Louis Luchini (D) and Rep. Scott Strom (R), the new legislation does not require sportsbooks to be tethered to brick-and-mortar gambling establishments. Despite objections raised by the local casinos, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle voted in favor of allowing FanDuel and DraftKings to operate thanks to their spotless conduct as DFS operators independently.
Maine has a horse race betting industry. Racing enthusiasts are free to engage in pari-mutuel betting at the Bangor Raceway and Scarborough Downs, and four licensed OTB venues. Placing wagers over the Internet is illegal. Betting on greyhound races has been prohibited since 1993.
Maine Daily Fantasy Sports
Maine passed a DFS bill in August 2017. The local lawmakers essentially agreed with DFS companies insofar that DFS contests shouldn’t be classified as games of chance, and declared fantasy sports a game of skill. Thus, such competitions are now exempt from Maine gambling laws. The new law also established basic consumer protections, set a minimum age of 18 for players, introduced a licensing fee of $2,500 for companies with in-state revenue over $100,000, and prohibited contests based on collegiate and amateur sports. The oversight of DFS operators was given to the Gambling Control Unit within the Department of Public Safety.
Legal DFS platforms that are available to Maine residents include DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo DFS, and CBS Sports.
Maine Lottery offers both local and multi-state draw games, including Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky4Life, and Lotto America. It also operates Instant Games and Fast Play games, with ticket prices ranging from $1 to $25. All tickets must be purchased from land-based retail agents, as the lottery is not authorized to sell them online.
Maine regulations allow local non-profit organizations to host charitable bingo games. Also, the Penobscot Tribe operates a high-stakes bingo facility which is located on the reservation grounds. Maine businesses and charities are prohibited from operating online bingo sites. Any real-money bingo platforms that offer their services to Maine residents do so illegally.
Maine Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
Once you’ve picked a site that you’d like to play on, you’ll probably want to complete the registration as quickly as possible. However, you have to keep in mind that your account will have to be verified to prevent underage gambling, which might take up to 24 or even 48 hours. Fortunately, you won’t ever have to go through this procedure again, which means that you should be ready to join the action pretty much as soon as you make your first payment.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
The money that is tied to your account is at your disposal 24/7, so you’re free to place a payout request via the cashier menu whenever you deem necessary. Most requests are handled using a wire transfer and take up to 2 days to process, which means that once you’ve placed your request, you’ll have to wait up to 14 days until you get a hold of your winnings.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Maine?
18 for offshore gambling sites, even though the official gambling age is set 21 for land-based casino gambling.
How do I open an account?
You need to submit your personal information via an on-site registration form. If you want to gamble for real money, you need to confirm your identity by submitting a photo or scan of your ID. Most sites don’t require you to be physically present in Maine, so anywhere in the US should be fine.
Where can I access Maine online gambling sites?
Anywhere in the United States, but keep in mind that online gambling regulations differ from state to state. States that banned internet gambling include Washington and Utah.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Maine?
Section 925 of the Maine Code is a great place to start. How do I deposit to my online gambling account? In most cases, you’ll have to go for a standard credit card payment. Most experts recommend brands like Visa and MasterCard for maximum reliability.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
You can choose between a bank wire transfer and a check delivered by mail.
Is my money safe?
Yes, your money is perfectly secure as long as you stick to reputable sites that aren’t run by scammers. All the sites listed here have been thoroughly checked by our experts and are 100% trustworthy.
What body regulates gambling in Maine?