Maine gambling laws are middle-of-the-road when it comes to most forms of gambling. In the past few decades, Maine’s politics have been split between Democrats and Republicans. The state has an Independent Senator, a Democrat legislature, and (until 2018) a Republican governor. In the past, new gambling laws had to be passed on a bipartisan basis, so it allowed for a moderate, sensible amount of legalized gambling.
Maine has a handful of bingo halls and racetracks, which support a horse racing industry and off-track betting. Maine gamblers have one land-based casino, but rejected a proposal to legalize a second brick-and-mortar casino in 2016. The state does not allow online gambling of any kind.
Maine’s online casino bettors must play at offshore casino sites at the moment. These online casinos are not regulated by Maine officials, but they are licensed, regulated, and audited by international gaming agencies. Finding a safe, reputable casino is the key, so read our reviews to learn which online casinos are best.
Yes. Maine does not have licensed and regulated sports betting, but residents play at offshore online sportsbooks without fear of prosecution. Since the PASPA law was struck down in May 2018, Maine’s legislature has had nearly 2 years to pass such a law. Maine might legalize a sportsbook at its lone casino or its 11 racetracks, but since the land-based gaming industry is small, that lobbying resources to pass such a law might be limited.
Online gambling remains unregulated in Maine, though you won’t be prosecuted if you play for real money at offshore online gambling sites. Land-based casino gambling, lotteries, and betting on horse races are legal in Maine. All three are restricted to a few venues. Legalizing new casinos requires a state referendum. Recent plebiscites have gone against casino proponents, but those proposals were dogged by bad publicity and questionable ethics.
Online poker is not regulated in Maine at present, but players can gamble online at offshore gaming sites without being prosecuted. State Sen. Debra Plowman (R-Hampden), State Rep. Douglas Damon (R-Bangor), and State Rep. Linda Valentino (D-Saco) attended a gaming conference in Las Vegas in 2012 to learn about online casinos and poker sites. Later that year, they introduced a bill to the Maine legislature, but the bill never made it out of committee. Online poker remains an unlawful form of gambling in Maine. The resulting bill approved online lottery ticket sales, but online poker failed to pass. Maine online poker players continue to join unlicensed offshore poker sites. These players have never been prosecuted for such gaming, but that does not mean it won’t be blocked or prosecuted in the future. With Democrats taking control of the state’s agenda in the near future, online gambling enforcement is not likely to become stricter.
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Bovada the best online sportsbook for Maine bettors. When you make a first deposit at Bovada, you’ll receive a $250 welcome bonus. Bovada has a world class set of moneyline bets, point spreads, totals, and prop bets. Bettors can enjoy dedicated pages for the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, MLS, NCAA, and UFC.
The minimum gambling age for pari-mutuel bets in Maine is 18 years old. The minimum age for slots gambling is 21. If you play at an online gambling site, you’ll need to be 18 years old or older.
READ: LD 1520
READ: L 1329
READ: Title 17-A
Maine has a broad definition of gambling, so most forms of gaming fall under the definition. This has longstanding and perpetual implications for any innovation forms of gambling which exist now, or might exist in the future.
Staking or risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.
Instead of making a specific list of the forms of gambling like other states, the Maine Constitution’s Section 952(11) says that anything “not expressly authorized by statute” is defined as “unlawful gambling”. The absence of a reference makes a form of gambling illegal, which meant online and mobile gambling immediately became illegal upon its creation.
Gamblers should pay attention to the phrase “contest of chance”, because any game defined as a “contest of chance” is considered gambling in Maine. “Social gambling” is specifically defined, because it involves charitable gambling and some tribal gaming.
“Social gambling” is gambling, or a contest of chance, in which the only participants are players and from which no person or organization receives or becomes entitled to receive something of value or any profit whatsoever, directly or indirectly, other than as a player, from any source, fee, remuneration connected with said gambling, or such activity as arrangements or facilitation of the game, or permitting the use of premises, or selling or supplying for profit refreshments, food, drink service or entertainment to participants, players or spectators.
Section 952(4) provides for charitable gambling, though only a handful of bingo parlors exist in the state. The Penobscot Tribe organizes “high stakes bingo”, but tribal gaming laws are complicated in Maine.
Casino gambling, lotteries, and pari-mutuel betting are legal and regulated.
Maine has four recognized Native American tribes: the Penobscot Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Houlton Band of Maliseets, and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs. Many New England tribes did not have their lands recognized by the US Department of the Interior prior to 1934, which is a huge disadvantage. In 2014, LD 1520 sought to give tribes the right to open gaming venues, but the bill failed to pass.
Maine has one traditional land-based casino: Oxford Casino in the city of Oxford. Oxford Casino is owned by Churchill Downs Inc. these days, though an in-state development group championed the Oxford Casino until it was opened in 2013.
Maine also has a racetrack-casino, usually known as a racino: Hollywood Casino & Hotel in Bangor. Hollywood Casino is owned by Penn National Gaming, a Pennsylvania-based company which has a string of Hollywood Casinos throughout the United States. Hollywood Casino was founded by a local developer named Shawn Scott in 2003. When questions arose about Mr. Scott’s ethics, he sold the casino to Penn National.
In 2017, Shawn Scott backed the York County casino project, which was designed to bring a third casino to Maine. Due to a series of public relations blunders and an ethics probe which ended in a $4 million fine, a statewide referendum voted down the York County casino project.
Yes, Maine has 11 horse tracks and a smattering off-track betting facilities. The Maine State Harness Racing Commission regulates horse racing and harness racing. Since 1993, dog racing has been banned in Maine.
Yes, Maine has 3 off-track betting facilities. Many states have more off-track betting facilities than full racetracks, but Maine is the opposite. With 11 racing facilities, it makes little sense to authorize off-track betting venues. The locations which do exist have simulcasting.
Yes, the social gambling laws are detailed in Section 952(4) of Maine’s gambling laws. A few bingo halls exist, while the Penobscot Tribe offers high stakes bingo.
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