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Sports betting in Maine

Maine might not be the worst state in the country for gambling but it’s not particularly great either. Historically, the state offered only parimutuel betting at one of two harness racing facilities or at one of several off track simulcasting facilities throughout the state. They’ve since added a lottery, slots at the race tracks and even an actual land based casino. Social and charitable gaming is also allowed.

The Maine Lottery began in 1974 after a referendum in favor of its establishment was supported by over 80% of voters. The Maine Lottery offers several draw games including several that are pooled with New Hampshire and Vermont for greater liquidity. There’s also the big multistate draws including Mega Millions, Lotto America and Powerball. The other offering from the Maine Lottery is an assortment of instant win scratch off games. The lottery remains by far the most popular and lucrative form of gambling in the state.

There are two casinos in the state. The Oxford Casino is Maine’s one ‘land based’ casino authorized by law. There’s also the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway in Bangor which offers harness racing as well as gaming. Initially, only slots were permitted at race track gaming properties but the law was amended in 2010 to allow table games. Both casinos offer table games, slots and video poker. The biggest harness track in Maine is Scarborough Downs but it does not offer slots after a proposal to allow them was voted down locally.

It’s unlikely that Maine will add additional forms of gambling anytime soon. One major obstacle is the two existing casinos in the state who have joined forces to ‘protect their turf’ and jointly oppose just about any legislation expanding Maine gambling law. Sports betting in Maine isn’t out of the question, but it would require not only overcoming the existing gambling cartel but changing the state’s gambling regulations.

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