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Maine's sports betting law will go into effect soon, but wagering is months away

Tribes in Maine are going to have to wait months, possibly more than a year, before sports betting begins in the state.

PORTLAND, Maine — Native American tribes in Maine are going to have to wait months, possibly more than a year, before sports betting begins in the state.

The law adopted by state lawmakers goes into effect on Aug. 8, but the executive director of the Maine Gambling Control Unit said it could take until January 2024 to get rules sorted out.

Milt Champion acknowledged the rulemaking will take more time than some people may have expected.

“This is not an easy process,” Champion said. “We’re not trying to put this off. We just want to do it right.”

The law legalizes sports betting in Maine, with tribes getting exclusive rights to online wagering while existing casinos can conduct in-person betting.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills gave control of mobile sports betting market to tribes in Maine.

It was something of an olive branch after she threatened to veto their proposal for greater sovereignty.

Native American tribes in Maine get exclusive control of mobile sports betting, which is expected to account for 85 percent of revenue.

In-person licenses are set aside for casinos and off-track betting parlors. There is a 10 percent tax on proceeds.

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