Lawmakers in Maine Consider Legalizing Sports Betting

The Bangor Sportsbook is among the top betting sites in Maine. In fact, it is one of only two full service sportsbooks in the state. The other sportsbook, the Penobscot Sportsbook, is not regulated by any regulatory body or commission. Since Maine is considered to have a legalized grey area when it comes to sports betting, it is up to the regulated Maine Sportsbook to police its operation.

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The Bangor Sportsbook’s main goal and presence in the regulated sports betting market in Maine is to offer its members all legal sportsbook gambling opportunities. The Bangor Sportsbook prefers to go live and open every Friday night. In order to accomplish this mission, the Bangor Sportsbook has added new Saturday hours as well. Many of the other full service bookmakers prefer to stay closed on weekdays so they do not lose money if there is no bettors at the sportsbook on Friday night.

Unfortunately, the sports betting scene in New Hampshire is much the same as it is in Maine. The only difference being that the New Hampshire House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would regulate online gaming. The bill, House Bill 712, is currently in committee and could be voted out of committee at the end of the session. If the legislature passes the bill, it will then head to the state’s voters for final approval. If it passes, it will make online gaming in New Hampshire legal and regulated.

The Bangor Sportsbook is opposed to the House Bill. They see the move as an attack on their business model and believe the regulation will hurt their ability to make a profit. The Gaming Commission of New Hampshire agrees with the legislature’s concern and has asked the Supreme Judicial Court to stall the House Bill. A hearing has been scheduled for sometime after the holidays.

While Maine is not the only state to have its own laws governing online gambling, it is considered to be the “go-to” location by many. Maine and New Hampshire are among the states with the most restrictive laws when it comes to sports betting. In the past, New Hampshire was one of the few states that did not allow casinos.

The New Hampshire Department of Revenue regulates all retail gaming. Retail gaming in the state includes everything from state lotteries to video poker machines and lottery tickets. According to the NHRCC, current law does not allow online sports betting at retail establishments. However, the department is considering changing the law so that online casinos could be included. Retail gaming is the state’s largest industry and if it were to go through with opening up sports betting sites, it would generate approximately $2 billion in revenue.

Many state representatives have introduced similar bills in the past few years. Most recently, Representative Barney Franks (R) introduced House Bill 1352 which would regulate all online gambling in the state. Like many previous bills, this particular bill does not sit well with some Maine residents, such as the Maine Sports Association. Maine is currently the only state in the nation that does not regulate or restrict sports betting.

As noted earlier, the New Hampshire House recently passed a bill that would establish a legalized sports betting in the state. Currently, the state has no regulation whatsoever. Governor John King has indicated that he is open to the idea of legalized sports betting. As things stand now, it appears as though the New Hampshire House will have to reintroduce the bill next year. Hopefully next year, the New Hampshire State House will come to an agreement with the Maine Senate and pass a bill that becomes law.