Maine Governor Supports Tribes’ Mobile Betting Licenses, Opens a Dispute

The governor of Maine, Janet Mills sparked a pretty heated dispute with a Bangor lawmaker over a compromise offer on tribal sovereignty. Back in 2020, Mills vetoed a measure on sports betting, but now, the Bangor lawmaker has accused her of subverting the effort because she would let tribes run mobile sports betting.

Tribal Expansions Are Supported, but Gaming Is a Touchy Subject

On Friday, a potential deal between the tribes and Mills was in the works, but Bangor Daily News obtained a proposal from the office of the governor and it stated that only federally recognized tribes in Maine would be eligible to apply for mobile betting licenses.

Tribes have been pushing to get some type of gaming license, especially after the US Supreme Court deemed PASPA unconstitutional in 2018. The Bangor delegation was split with Joe Baldacci (D-Bangor), accusing Mills of structuring the bills in a way to defeat sports betting measures and tribal rights.

As the only Democrat that didn’t support the tribal gaming bill that was vetoed by Mills last year, Baldacci stated that he supports the expansion of tribes, but not when it comes to gaming. He stated that if passed, the bill will be a massive threat to jobs and businesses.

Lindsay Crete, the spokesperson for Mills, stated that this is just a cynical assessment of the efforts made by the governor. She also added that instead of coming up with “politically-charged attacks,” Baldacci should be a part of the debates in the most respectful manner. Crete stated that Mills’ efforts are focused on making progress with the tribes and “enacting good policy.”

Negotiations Are Still Extremely Messy

According to the bill, the Micmac, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, and Penobscot would be the only entities to get a mobile betting license. In-person betting licenses would only be obtained by off-track betting parlors.

Just like all other laws, the bill would direct a part of the industry’s revenue to cover gaming addiction treatment, regulation, support harness racing, etc. The efforts made in 2022 so far hit a wall as a key legislator decided to seek alternative employment.

So far, heavy opposition by casinos and skepticism from governors have defeated prior attempts by the tribes to get wider wagering rights and negotiations are tense to this day.

Rep, Joe Perry, who has supported two tribal bills in the past, stated that the state needs to be on the same level as the tribes, but he’s not sure how can that be done. On the other side, Rep. Amy Roeder wasn’t worried about the possibility of the city of Maine suffering from tribes having expanded gaming rights. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.