Pari-Mutuel Betting 1947
Charity Gaming (Bingo/Beano) 1975
State Casinos 2010
Fantasy Contests 2017
Fantasy Sports/Lottery/Pari-Mutuel Betting 18+
State Casinos 21+
State Casinos 2
The history of gambling in Maine dates back to the late 1800s, when casinos started to appear. The state also has a long equine history with the fastest half-mile track in New England.
The Maine Gambling Control Unit is responsible for regulating and supervising casino slot machines and table games. Although there are two state casinos, only one can accept horse racing wagers inside and outside Maine.
Charitable gaming is legal in the state, as are high-stakes bingo halls on tribal land. More recently, fantasy sports betting was legalized. Online casinos and other forms of online gambling are prohibited. Despite efforts, sports betting remains illegal for the foreseeable future.
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The Maine Lottery is run by the state and is a member of the Multistate Lottery Association. It was founded in 1974 and operates a tristate lottery with New Hampshire and Vermont. Products include draw games and instant games that are sold at over 1,300 authorized retailers.
Charitable gaming falls under the regulatory oversights of the Gambling Control Unit. Maine law permits charitable gaming run by community organizations to raise money. Permitted games include bingo where prizes do not exceed $400. Raffles with prizes of up to $75,000 are also permitted, as are card games with bets not exceeding $1/hand.
The Maine State Harness Racing Commission is responsible for regulating horse racing and pari-mutuel betting in the state. Pari-mutuel harness racing in Maine is popular at the state’s two main raceways in Scarborough and Bangor. Off-track and on-track betting on horse racing are also permitted. Advance deposit wagering online is permitted through Penn ADW LLC only.
Fantasy contests fall under the responsibility of the Gambling Control Unit. Maine defines a ‘Fantasy contest’ as a simulated game or contest where:
One or more fantasy contestants pay an entry fee to participate;
“Fantasy contestants compete against each other by using their knowledge and understanding of sports events and persons engaged in those sports events to select and manage a simulated team roster whose performance directly corresponds with the actual performance of human competitors on sports teams and in sports events; and
The outcome of the game or contest reflects the relative knowledge and skill of the contestants and does not depend on the performance of any one participant in a sports event or the outcome of any one sports event but is determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individual competitors on sports teams and in sports events.”
A provider must be authorized in the state and pay a 10% fee on gross revenue.
At present, Maine has only two state casinos. These offer live poker rooms, video poker, slots, and table games: Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud Poker, Blackjack, Spanish 21, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em, Dragon Bonus, and Mini-Baccarat.
Maine also has four federally recognized tribes that can offer bingo games with no prize limits. Unlike Indian tribes in other states, the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act binds tribes in Maine to state law. This stops the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act from applying in the state. The tribes have tried but failed to legalize tribal casinos in the past.
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Rep. Arthur Genest sponsored a bill that would introduce a state lottery that was voted on and approved in 1973. The Maine Lottery began operating a year later (June 1974). In 1975, bingo was legalized and regulated, followed a decade later (1985) by the first interstate lottery between Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
In 1947 an Act legalized horse and dog racing and betting in Maine. Almost half a century later, in 1993, greyhound racing was subsequently banned. Over 10 years later (May 2004), an Act was passed to allow licensed and regulated slot machines at commercial racing tracks. This was followed by simulcast wagering in 2011 and online betting on horse races in May 2020.
2003 saw the Penobscot Indian Nation and the Passamaquoddy Indian Tribe try and fail to receive ballot support to amend the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act. The Act would have allowed the tribes to operate a gambling casino for 20 years. In 2018, House Representatives rejected another bid to create tribal casinos in Maine.
Oxford Casino Hotel was approved in a statewide referendum in 2010, and amendments to the racino law in 2011 allowed table games at the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway Bangor.
Fast forward to August 2017, when Maine passed legislation (Bill SP 449) to legalize fantasy sports. Two years later, lawmakers introduced bills to legalize sports gambling in 2019. Still, only one Bill made it to Democrat Governor Janet Mills to sign, which she killed.
Yes, off-track and on-track pari-mutuel betting on horse races is permitted. Advance deposit wagering is also allowed.
Yes, the Maine Lottery offers draw games, instant games and operates a tristate lottery with Vermont and New Hampshire. It is also a member of the Multistate Lottery Association.
Legal gambling forms include a state lottery, pari-mutuel horse racing, charity gaming, gambling at two state casinos, tribal bingo halls, and fantasy sports betting.
No, sports betting is currently not legal in Maine.
No, online gambling such as online casinos and online poker is not legal in Maine. However, online betting on horses is permitted.
The legal gambling age in Maine is 18 and over to purchase lottery tickets, participate in fantasy sports, or charitable gaming. However, Maine’s minimum legal gambling age rises to 21 and over for casinos.