Maine’s gambling regulator will launch legal digital sports betting at 9 a.m. Friday, it has announced, almost 18 months to the day after lawmakers there legalized.
DraftKings also announced Tuesday that it has partnered with the Passamaquoddy Tribe to be one of two digital platforms that will be available in the state. Caesars Sportsbook previously announced in May that it would partner with three of the four Wabanaki Nation tribes.
According to its press release, DraftKings will only be offering digital wagering in Maine. The company is the only one that is active in all other live New England states except Rhode Island. It has a monopoly in New Hampshire, a duopoly with FanDuel in Connecticut, and offers digital betting in Massachusetts.
Vermont legalized earlier this year, but wagering is not yet live. DraftKings is among five operators that has submitted bids in that state.
Through its deal, Caesars has access to three digital licenses, though it is unclear if the company will use all three under different banners or will just offer its flagship Caesars Sportsbook. The company operates some land-based Harrah’s-branded casinos, but so far has only one online sportsbook. According to the Caesars Sportsbook website, customers in Maine can download the app and preregister as of Wednesday. New customers will get $100 in bonus bets, once the platform goes live, by placing a $50 bet.
According to the Associated Press, Maine State Police spokesperson Shannon Moss said operators could begin taking pre-launch signups Wednesday and live bets beginning Friday.
Maine fifth to launch in U.S. this year
Maine’s Gambling Control Unit, which has spent nearly a year-and-a-half promulgating rules, has been waiting for sign-off from the attorney general’s and secretary of state’s offices in order to launch. State gaming chief Milt Champion told Sports Handle in early October that his office had handed off regulations to the attorney general, who in turn would pass them to the secretary of state. Three days after the secretary of state signed off, Champion said, betting could go live.
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Maine sports betting will launch this Friday at 9 AM. Caesars is partnered with three tribes; the fourth tribe has not announced a partnership. pic.twitter.com/4aACwJdPA8
— Steve Ruddock (@SteveRuddock) October 31, 2023
At launch, Maine will become the fifth U.S. jurisdiction to go live with digital sports betting in 2023 behind Ohio (Jan. 1), Massachusetts (March 10), Puerto Rico (June 5), and Kentucky (Sept. 28). The state will also have some of the strictest advertising laws in the nation. Regulators opted to ban celebrities and athletes from being used to market sportsbooks, and promotions may not be marketed anywhere other than on an operator’s site. The law and regulations also call for revenue sharing of up to 40% between operators and the tribes they are partnered with.
Maine’s new law also allows for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at the state’s two casinos and off-track betting parlors, but so far, no retail partnerships have been announced.
Maine’s launch will leave two states — North Carolina and Vermont — that are legal but not live. North Carolina regulators are promulgating rules and have plans to launch by June 2024, while Vermont’s regulator is aiming for launch by the end of this year.