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Maine sports betting legislation faces further study

May 6, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Lawmakers said Monday they need more time to decide on a push to allow sports betting in Maine that’s been spurred by a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs committee on Monday voted to table one such bill and kill several related bills as it continues its work. Democratic Sen. Louis Luchini said the committee needs time to wade through complex issues raised by allowing sports wagering.

New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case last year that cleared the way for any state to legalize sports betting if desired. Eight currently take wagers and many more are considering it.

This year, Maine has seen a number of bills that attempt to legalize sports gambling in Maine. Lawmakers have proposed allowing tribes to conduct sports wagering, or restricting such betting to only in-person bets on sports events.

Democratic Senate President Troy Jackson’s bill would give the Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Board authority to issue sports wagering licenses to casinos, commercial tracks, off-track betting facilities and high-stakes beano facilities. He proposed banning bets on high school, collegiate and minor league sports events, and sending 5% of revenue to Maine’s general fund.

These ideas could find their way into legislation to allow sports wagering, depending on what lawmakers on the committee decide.

So far, Maine’s hospitality industry is the only group that’s reported lobbying on such legislation, according to state lobbying reports.

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