Maine is known for its fantastic vacation spots, mountains, beaches, and iconic parks. However, it can add another attraction to its extensive list soon - legal mobile and retail sports betting.
Lawmakers have been trying to legalize sports betting since 2019, with LD 553 passing the House and the Senate. However, the bill was vetoed by Governor Janet Mills, who cited that the state needed more time to investigate a sports betting market. Lawmakers were so keen to see this legislation passed that the Senate voted to overturn the veto. However, the House didn’t get enough of a majority to make this happen.
There was another attempt in 2021, but lawmakers withdrew the bill before it was presented to the governor. Finally, Gov. Mills signed LD 585 in May 2022 to legalize online and retail sports betting. Operators must partner with any of the state’s four federally recognized tribes, meaning that up to four sportsbooks can launch. The Gambling Control Unit will oversee these operators in the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Read our complete guide to Maine sports betting to discover what the sports betting market in ME will look like. We also provide detail on some of the best sports events in ME and sportsbooks that may go live.
While there are no professional sports teams in Maine, many sports fans in the state choose to get behind major league sides in the New England region. When sports betting launches, there will be plenty of interest in wagering. Here is an overview of what some of the most popular sports in ME will be.
The NFL is very popular in Maine, thanks to the nearby New England Patriots, which play in Boston. The Patriots played its inaugural season in 1960. In recent years, the Patriots have been one of the greatest sports dynasties in the US. The Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era helped the team to unprecedented success. After 41 years without winning a Super Bowl, the franchise claimed six Lombardi Trophies from 2001-2018.
The NFL is the most popular league in the US for bettors, and there will be a wide range of markets for ME bettors. This includes totals, under/over, points lines, and parlays. You’ll be able to bet on Patriots games pre-game and in-play, while placing season-long wagers like the Patriots to win a Super Bowl.
Similar to football, fans of the NBA in Maine get behind New England’s Boston Celtics. One of the charter members of the NBA, the Celtics play at TD Garden in Boston. The team has been one of the most successful sides in NBA history. The franchise has claimed a joint-most 17 NBA Championship, a record it shares with fierce rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. Some of the best NBA players of all time have taken the court for the Celtics, including Larry Bird and Bill Russell.
When legal sports betting comes to the Pine Tree State, basketball will be one of the most popular sports available. You’ll be able to place player props on your favorite athletes to hit statistics like three-pointers and rebounds. You can also find moneylines, totals, and point spreads for every NBA game. You can add many of these markets together to make multi-game parlays.
Sportsbooks launching in Maine will expect plenty of interest in MLB betting. The most popular MLB franchise in ME is the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox were a founder of the American League, joining the junior circuit in 1901.
The Red Sox won four championships between 1901 and 1918 and established themselves as one of the best teams in the AL. After its 1918 win, the team embarked on a World Series drought dubbed the “Curse of the Bambino”. The misfortune for the Red Sox coincided with the sale of star player Babe Ruth to arch-rivals, the New York Yankees, two years after the 1918 World Series.
The drought ended in 2004, and the Red Sox went from strength to strength, becoming the first to win four World Series in the 21st century. Betting sites will provide lots of markets on the MLB, with bets on every team in the league.
The most successful college team in Maine is the University of Maine Black Bears. The school is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association in football and America East in basketball. Its most successful program is its men’s ice hockey team, which plays in Hockey East and has won two national championships.
When sports betting launches in Maine, college sports betting on NCAA Division I teams will be available. However, you won’t be able to back in-state teams like the Black Bears. This is to protect young, local athletes from the pressure caused by college sports betting.
With no pro hockey team in Maine, the state’s NHL fans tend to follow the Boston Bruins. The Hartford Whalers in nearby Connecticut also used to attract supporters from the Pine Tree State, but the team moved to Carolina in 1997. This left the Bruins as New England’s sole representative in the NHL.
Boston Bruins had its inaugural season in 1924 and were one of the “Original Six” franchises in the NHL that formed the only teams in the league between 1942 and 1967. The Bruins have won six Stanley Cups. Bettors in ME will more than likely be interested in betting on the side through markets like puck lines, totals, and player props. However, there will be plenty of markets for every NHL team.
Maine sports betting laws allow four sportsbooks to launch, each partnered with a federally recognized tribe. We’ve listed some of the sportsbooks we expect to apply for a license from the Gambling Control Unit.
The operator of Barstool Sportsbook, Penn National Gaming, owns the Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine. This makes Barstool one of the most likely betting sites to go live in ME. In addition, the sportsbook is available in nearby New Jersey. If Penn National Gaming successfully receives a license from the Gambling Control Unit, it would likely launch a retail sportsbook at Hollywood Casino.
Popular Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operator FanDuel is already live in Maine with its DFS games. The platform already has an audience, which would make launching its sportsbook in ME more appealing. In addition, FanDuel is licensed to operate in nearby states like Connecticut and nearby states like New Jersey and New York.
DraftKings is another DFS operator available to players in Maine. DraftKings is very committed to providing for the New England area, with its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition, DraftKings is the exclusive betting partner for ME neighbor New Hampshire. This makes it likely that DK will try to get a license in Maine.
BetMGM is one of the most popular sportsbooks in the US, operated by MGM Resorts International and Entain. The betting site is live in sixteen states and Washington D.C., including states near ME like New Jersey and New York.
There may be no professional sports team in Maine, but there is quite a big following for college sports. In particular, the state hosts a historic college football rivalry and an intense ice hockey rivalry. ME also welcomes other exciting sports events, including the world’s only Toboggan championship. Read more about the state’s sporting events below.
Known as the Border War, the rivalry between the University of Maine Black Bears and the University of New Hampshire Wildcats ice hockey programs has a shorter history than its footballing equivalent, but it is arguably more intense. The two sides first met in 1979 and meet three times yearly as part of the Hockey East Conference.
Initial meetings were uncompetitive, and Maine held the advantage in the rivalry. Between 1986 and 1993, Maine won 22 of 24 meetings between the two sides. New Hampshire won just one. During this time, the Black Bears reached the Frozen Four three times and were national champions in 1993.
New Hampshire became more competitive towards the end of the 1990s, and the rivalry we know today formed throughout the 1999 series. New Hampshire won two games during the regular season to deliver the school top seed in the Hockey East, but a month later, the two sides met in the national championship, with Maine coming out on top.
New Hampshire got revenge and defeated Maine in 2002 to win its first Hockey East title, but Maine won the meeting at the Frozen Four a few weeks later. The success of both programs since 1999 has added extra intensity to this matchup.
The rivalry between Maine Black Bears and New Hampshire Wildcats also extends to its football programs, with both sides playing yearly in the Colonial Athletic Association in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
The game is referred to as the Battle for Brice-Cowell Musket, as the winner of the matchup wins possession of an antique fowling musket named after two former head coaches, Fred Brice of Maine and Butch Cowell of New Hampshire.
The two sides first played the game in 1903, and the series is one of the most played in college football history. In addition to conference play, the two met in 2013 in the FCS Playoff Tournament, with the Wildcats beating the Black Bears 41-27 on the way to the playoff semifinals.
Camden, Maine, plays host to the world’s only organized Toboggan race annually at the Camden Snow Bowl. The inaugural event was in 1936, and up to 400 teams a year speed along a narrow 400-foot wooden chute, iced in the second week of February.
The race has not been held continuously due to the chute's damage and usability. After being rebuilt in 1954 by the local coastguard, the event stopped ten years later due to disrepair. However, volunteers rebuilt the chute in the 1990s. Today, it is known as the Jack Williams Toboggan Chute.
Teams hotly contest the championship and look for any way to increase their speed on the ice, and competitiveness usually means controversy. Even the Inspector of Toboggans was found to have cheated in the 2007 edition by breaking the so-called ‘slat rule,’ which made his Toboggan travel faster.
Anyone can enter the championship, regardless of age or ability. The event features two-person, three-person, and four-person races. There are also prizes for all-female teams, student teams, college teams, the oldest team, and the best toboggan.
Sports betting is legal in Maine after Governor Janet Mills signed LF 585 in May 2022. However, sportsbooks have yet to launch as the Maine Gambling Control Unit creates a safe environment for online and retail sportsbooks to go live.
Yes, betting on horse racing is legal in Maine. The State Harness Racing Commission oversees the industry and allows betting at two race tracks and four off-track betting parlors. In addition, you can register with online horse racing betting sites like TVG and TwinSpires.
The state also hosts harness racing, with Scarborough Downs holding races that you can bet on from April to December. The Hollywood Casino and Raceway hosts harness racing between May and November.
No, you can’t use BetMGM in Maine because sports betting hasn’t launched. However, sports betting is legal in ME, and sportsbook operators can partner with licensed Native American tribes. This means BetMGM may launch in the future.
No. While sports betting is legal, Caesars hasn’t launched its sportsbook in Maine. To launch, Caesars will need to partner with a tribe licensed by the Gambling Control Unit of the Department of Public Safety.
DraftKings is unavailable in Maine because the sportsbook is not licensed. In addition, the sports betting industry in ME has not gone live. In the future, DraftKings may partner with a state-recognized tribe to launch its online sportsbook. In the meantime, you can use the platform to play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games.
Yes, you can play DFS in Maine through popular operators like DraftKings and FanDuel. The Gambling Control Unit within the Department of Public Safety regulates fantasy sports. The minimum age to participate in Fantasy Sports is 18.
While sports betting is legal in Maine, FanDuel hasn’t got a license to operate and launch in the state. The operator can apply for a license from the Gambling Control Unit after agreeing to a deal with a Native American tribe. FanDuel already operates its DFS games in ME.
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