Maine is not even close to getting its sports betting up and running, and now, the state has lost another friend who could have been instrumental in seeing this matter through. A long-term champion of gambling and voting issues, Sen. Louis Luchini will now take up a position at the Small Business Administration and lose his legislative powers over pushing sports betting laws.
His decision to quit will cause a bit of a stir as a quick election to replace him would be necessary, but more importantly, to us at least, is the fact that sports gambling has lost a strong advocate. Luchini has been able to see one piece of legislation through to the Appropriations Table, but the bill has been more or less mothballed with Gov. Janet Mills not interested in it.
That is not really surprising. Mills has been in power for a while now, and she has previously shown distaste towards betting. In 2019, when a bill managed to overcome both houses, the measure was stopped by Mills, who vetoed it.
Opposition against Betting Entrenched in Governor’s Office
According to her, “the majority of the people in Maine” were not ready to legalize sports betting. Given that elected officials representing the public interest voted in favor of mobile wagering in the state, how Mills concluded is beyond the reasonable observer.
Luchini, in the meantime, has been an advocate for the most liberal form of mobile betting in Maine. When the bill hit the Appropriations Table, it was quickly ascribed a “tethering status,” meaning that retail sports betting would be the only option.
Luchini objected strongly against the idea, arguing that it would go against the grain of what sports betting represents and how it should be introduced to residents. He even tried to completely shut down the bill he authored rather than see it altered in a way he believed was not in the state’s best interest.
However, with Luchini now out of the law-making process, Maine will need another prominent champion of sports gambling legislation. Further talks about sports betting legalization are expected.