The Wabanaki Nations would soon get the right to offer online gambling in its casinos if the Maine Legislature approves the bill LD1777.
Operating the sportsbook and online casinos in Maine:
Laura Supica, one of the 20 representatives of Wabanaki during the last year, was the one who submitted the bill.
The sportsbooks and online casinos were legalized back in 2022, but the launch still didn’t happen – and the act called An Act to Create Economic Opportunity for Wabanaki Nations Through Internet Gaming would finally grant the tribes the exclusive rights to operate in the state. Wabanaki Nations are the four Indian tribes that are federally recognized in Maine.
If the bill gets passed, the gambling scene in Maine will be completely changed and different from the one in other states since, so far, no state has an agreement with tribes such as this.
As proposed by the bill, every federally recognized tribe, band, or other Indian nation can get only one Internet game license. For Wabanaki Nations, it could mean that the nation can get one license for all tribes, or even all tribes get a separate license, in which both sports betting and online casinos would be included.
When it comes to revenues, nothing would be changed, so the operators would share 30% of the revenue. However, in some cases, that number would go up to 40%.
However, only a few operators would be able to work with the tribes since many of them don’t offer both sports betting and online casino gaming. On the other hand, the biggest operators in the state, such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars, offer both types of betting to their customers.
The license, which will last for four years, will cost $200.000, as usual, and the same amount will have to be paid for its renewal. A one-year license, which lasts for one year, costs $200.000 as well, and it can enable the Wabanaki Nations to start operating while they await the full approval.
Users will be able to self-exclude themselves from gambling, and the ads that target minors and people under 21 will be immediately banned.
It’s different in Maine:
What’s specific for Maine is the fact that the tribes aren’t part of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which means that the tribes’ options are limited. They can’t conduct Class III gaming, and instead of casinos, they’re obliged to open bingo halls – and that’s why it’s essential to get the right to operate online casinos, which are known to generate a huge revenue.
However, the Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) had some suggestions on the proposed bill, which include various prohibitions and restrictions, such as handing out flyers or similar in-person promotional material for sportsbooks, using alcohol and tobacco in casino ads, as well as using professional or Olympic athletes and cartoon characters for promotional purposes.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) and the Passamaquoddy Tribe don’t agree with MGCU.