After a long wait, Mainers will be able to start placing bets on sports later this week.

The Department of Public Safety announced Tuesday afternoon that the rules for sports wagering have been adopted, and that the state will go live at 9 a.m. Friday.

Starting Wednesday, management service providers and suppliers will be able to start pre-launch advertising to accept registrations and account deposits leading up to Friday’s launch, the department said.

Roughly 15 months will have passed between when sports betting became legal in Maine and Friday’s go-live date.

On May 2, 2022, Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill allowing for legalized sports wagering, which gives exclusive rights to the lucrative online betting market to the state’s Indigenous tribes. Sports betting in Maine became law 90 days later.

Detailed rules for the operation of sports betting here were published in January by the Maine Gambling Control Unit, the agency that oversees legal wagering in the state. Those rules were subject to public comment and then revised by the unit. The revised rules were sent to the state attorney general’s office for review in July, a process that by law can take up to four months, before sports betting could be launched.


With Maine set to go live, Vermont will become the only New England state that does not offer legalized sports betting.

For Mainers who have had to travel elsewhere to wager, the launch has been eagerly anticipated. According to the website Sports Handle, only 11 of the first 26 states that offered sports betting took as long as eight months to launch.

“I’m very excited,” said Matt Siegel, a 35-year-old from Topsham. “It’s about time.”

Siegel estimated he placed bets four times over the summer in Massachusetts when visiting family there, plus a couple trips to New Hampshire.

Earlier this year, Siegel had tried to follow when sports betting would go live in Maine, but as it dragged on he lost track of it. Tuesday’s news was a pleasant surprise.

“I lost sight of it after week one of the NFL season,” he said.


The wait helped ensure Maine would have a smooth sports betting operation, said John Holden, a professor at Oklahoma State University who has written extensively on the regulation of sports gambling.

“Maine certainly took, let’s say a cautious route to launch. I think the market has certainly developed nationally around them,” he said. “That’s probably kudos to Maine’s regulators that they are being cautious, they aren’t taking pressure from the industry or what other states are doing in how they’re moving forward.

“It’s a lot easier to expand permissibility, expand the allowance of regulations, than it is to attempt to put things back in the box.”

Maine will join more than 30 states that have legalized and launched sports betting since a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that overturned a federal statute prohibiting it. Milt Champion, executive director of Maine’s Gambling Control Unit, estimated last year that the state will receive $3.8 million to $6 million a year in taxes from sports betting’s overall revenue.

Holden said the economic boost could be smaller.

“I think it’ll be less than the gambling industry would like many people to believe,” he said. “Sports betting is a low-margin product. It is not the lottery. The return is a little bit unpredictable.”


The vast majority of sports bets – 87 percent nationally in 2021, according to the American Gaming Association – are made online. The rights to Maine’s mobile sports betting market will belong to the four recognized tribes: the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac and Maliseet nations. The tribes have no stake in Maine’s in-person betting market.

Under Maine’s setup, the tribes will get 50% or more of the mobile revenue, the state will get 10% in taxes, and 0.25% will go toward federal taxes. Providers such as Caesars Sportsbook, which has an agreement in place with all but the Passamaquoddy tribe, will receive between 30% and 40% with Champion’s approval.

DraftKings announced Tuesday afternoon that it had reached an agreement with the Passamaquoddy tribe to be its provider for online sports betting. Maine will be the 25th state in which the gambling giant is doing business.

To place a sports wager online in Maine, bettors must be physically present in the state, whether they are residents or out-of-staters. Their geolocation is tracked by the web app, such as Caesars Sportsbook’s, that allows for wagering.

You have to be at least 21 to place a sports bet here. Wagering on Maine-based college and professional teams is not allowed.

Maine also has seven licensed retail betting locations, where people will be able to place in-person sports wagers. There are two casinos in Bangor and Oxford and four off-track betting locations in Waterville, Sanford, Bangor and Lewiston. The Cumberland Fairgrounds has a license as well, and will operate its sports betting out of a yet-to-be-determined location in Cumberland County.

Though sports betting will go live Friday, multiple locations won’t be ready to accommodate bettors for weeks or months. Favorites OTB is moving from its Waterville location and renovating its Sanford venue, while the Cumberland County location likely won’t be ready until December or beyond.

Staff writer Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report.

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