January 11, 2024 3 min read


Tribal Gambling Expansion Once Again a Hot Topic in Maine

While tribes would benefit from developing casinos, the state's existing brick-and-mortar gambling operators fear about the impact of such expansion

Currently, Maine’s federally recognized tribes hold exclusive rights to sports betting. The state launched its legal betting market back in November last year, yet tribes continue their efforts toward the expansion of gambling in the state.

On Wednesday this week, Maine’s Veteran’s and Legal Affairs Committee, heard details regarding three bills that propose the expansion of gambling, permitting tribes to establish and operate casinos on their lands, as announced by the Portland Press Herald.

Rep. Ben Collings, a sponsor of one of the bills that was recently reviewed, spoke about the benefits of expanding gambling. “I believe this is a matter of basic fairness,” he outlined, pointing out that despite the tribe’s exclusive online sports betting rights, they need more funds to fund their communities.

Collings said that allowing the tribes to establish casinos can provide much-needed funding for their reservations and boost rural communities. “I think it’s time we step out of the way and end this discriminatory policy that we have and let tribes run their own businesses and do with that money what they see fit and also bring in much-needed revenue to the rural areas of Maine and to our state’s economy,” he explained.

Existing Casino Operators Voice Their Concerns

Despite the potential benefits of expanding gambling across Maine through federally recognized tribes, not everyone agrees with the proposals. The state’s two casinos are significantly concerned about the impact a statewide expansion may have on their business. Representatives of the casinos in Hollywood and Oxford voiced their concerns about the proposals, adding that there may not be such high demand for this many casinos across the state.

Dan Walker, an attorney representing Oxford Casino, explained that a statewide gambling expansion marks a significant step for Maine. “You combine it with what else we’ve been hearing, (and) what’s being brought forward to this committee this session is the biggest expansion of gaming in (Maine) history, taken all together,” he explained.

Chris Jackson, a Hollywood Casino representative, confirmed that the gambling sector is significantly competitive. He added that in a state like Maine, there are “very limited gaming dollars” which makes the competition fierce.

Still, supporters of the tribal gambling expansion continue to hope the proposals will gain further traction. So far, Gov. Janet Mills has opposed the state’s gambling expansion. However, in 2022, she did make an exception by approving a proposal that allowed the tribes to secure exclusive rights over online sports betting.


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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