January 3, 2024 3 min read

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Maine Legislators to Resume Efforts for Tribal Gambling Expansion

A handful of proposals that call to expand tribal gambling across the state are likely to gain further traction during the second regular session

Maine’s federally recognized tribes have been offering online sports betting since the launch of the state’s legal market early in November last year. This became possible after state lawmakers legalized online sports betting back in May 2022. Now, efforts of the legislators to expand the gambling options for Maine residents are likely to resume, a new report released by Portland Press Herald suggests.

There are a few bills that were previously introduced and call for the expansion of gambling activities that may gain traction with the start of the second regular session. Besides expanding gambling, the bills represent an effort for enhanced tribal sovereignty across Maine and seek to support tribal and rural communities as well as the economic development of the tribes. Moreover, the proposals plan to raise more funds for different public services as well.

Multiple Bills Propose Tribal Gambling Expansion

LD 1777, a bill backed by Rep. Laura Supica and co-sponsored by House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross and Senate President Troy Jackson calls for the expansion of gambling to allow tribes to offer online gambling in addition to sports betting. Under this proposal, the tribes would also be able to offer games of “skill or chance offered through the Internet in which an individual wagers money or something of monetary value for the opportunity to win money or something of monetary value.” According to Supica, the bill would positively impact the tribes with economic stimulus and also help with the development of different communities.

Two other proposals, supported by Rep. Ben Collings may also gain traction during the second regular session. The first such bill, LD 1944, proposes the development of casinos by one or more tribes on tribal lands. On the other hand, LD 1992 proposes federally recognized tribes to operate historical horse racing terminals, as well as electronic beano terminals, casinos and venues with slot machines.

Through taxes, the proposals would ultimately raise funds for different initiatives across Maine. Despite the benefits of additional funds, not everyone agrees with the expansion of gambling in Maine. One long-term opponent of the expansion of gambling across the state is Gov. Janet Mills. If the bills are reviewed during the second regular session of the lawmakers, they may face opposition from Mills.

Previously, the Governor vetoed a bill pushed forward by Collings. The aforementioned bill proposed tribes to be able to operate casinos. Despite Mills’ firm stance on gambling, in 2022, she greenlighted a proposal that granted tribes the exclusive rights to offer online sports wagering.

Journalist

Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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