Last year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the federal ban on sports betting was unconstitutional. Since that time, a few states have legalized and regulated sports wagering, and this move has proven to be extremely popular.

That’s why I recently presented L.D. 1642, “An Act Regarding the Regulation of Sports Wagering,” to the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. This bill would open a lawful market for sports betting, allowing Maine to capitalize on a practice already available to Maine residents online.

An illegal market run by offshore sites has been thriving in Maine for years and continues to advertise heavily to users in New England. These offshore sites are not regulated, do not provide any tax revenue and do not provide any consumer protections. To shift consumer demand from the offshore market to a legitimate market, Maine will need to create a free market where robust competition from experienced operators, subject to a reasonable tax rate, ensure that lawful products make for a compelling offering.

New Jersey is an example of how adopting a competitive sports betting market can be a great success. Last September, which was their first full month with mobile sports betting, they saw $184 million in wagers. That figure has since risen to $372 million in wagers, with 80 percent coming from online bets last month.

We have an opportunity to capitalize on the sports betting here in Maine, offering our residents a safe, legitimate way to participate while keeping their wagers in-state.

 

Sen. Matt Pouliot

R-Augusta


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