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Bill dies despite support from Senate

House upholds governor's veto of sports betting bill

By Stephen Betts | Feb 11, 2020

Augusta — A bill to allow legal sports betting in Maine came up short of a victory on Tuesday.

The House failed to garner Feb. 11 the two-thirds vote necessary to override the veto by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. Last week, the state Senate had voted to override the veto of LD 553 on a 20-10 vote.

A two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Legislature is needed to override a veto and make the bill law.

On Feb. 11, all local House members other than Rep. Anne "Pinny" Beebe-Center, D-Rockland, voted to override the veto.

Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, Independent of Friendship, said he voted to override the veto. He said Rhode Island and New Hampshire have already passed such a law and Massachusetts and Connecticut are soon to follow.

"The arguments against sports betting are bogus. Many people who struggle economically are nonetheless attracted to the worst bet in town, the Maine State Lottery, including its scratch tickets, where the chance of winning is near zero. At least in sports betting you have a 50 percent chance of winning, the best odds in town. The only positive thing I can say about the delay and then the governor’s veto is this, thank you Governor Mills for the delay, you saved me and thousands of other Mainers a bundle because the Patriots lost," Evangelos said.

Last week, State Sens. David Miramant, D-Camden, and Erin Herbig, D- Belfast, voted to override the veto. State Sen. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, voted to uphold the governor's veto.

The bill was approved by the Legislature in 2019 and had been held over until the 2020 session.

The bill would allow sports betting at licensed commercial tracks, licensed off-track betting facilities, licensed casinos, and facilities at federally-recognized Indian tribes.

These entities are also eligible to apply for mobile sports wagering licenses to conduct sports wagering through mobile applications or digital platforms.

Sports wagers are prohibited on high school events, other events where a majority of participants are less than 18 years of age and events involving Maine-based colleges and universities.

Betters must be 21 years or older.

A facility sports wagering licensee must pay 10 percent of adjusted gross receipts to the State and a mobile sports wagering licensee must pay 16 percent of the adjusted gross receipts.

1 percent of adjusted gross sports wagering receipts must be deposited in the state general fund for the administrative expenses of the Gambling Control Unit within the Department of Public Safety and 1% of the adjusted gross sports wagering receipts must be deposited in the Gambling Addiction Prevention and Treatment Fund.

The remaining adjusted gross sports wagering receipts are to be paid to the General Fund.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 10, 2020 15:02

...and the beat goes on. Sure the local charities will help those poor families whose husband/spouse is gambling away the food money...and the beat goes on....

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