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Maine lays groundwork for potential rules on sports betting

The Maine Gambling Control Unit says the state might see legal sports betting available as soon as April 2023.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Taking the next step towards legal sports betting, the Maine Gambling Control Unit laid out proposed rules as to what it might look like in the state. 

Announced in a press conference on Wednesday, director of the unit Milton Champion said as the team drafted the rules, they made sure to review how other states already in the game have been going about it. 

Champion said concerns such as protecting player data, physical requirements for in-person gambling, and programs that promote responsible wagering were priority concerns when drafting the rules. 

Tribes will have exclusive rights to online wagering while casinos and off-track betting parlors can conduct in-person betting.

“Basically what is happening is opening the door for conversations," Champion said. "Nowadays it's in-play bets, it's over the internet, ok there's geo-location there's age verification. There's all those elements that make it all that much harder."

Champion touched on in the meeting how although it's crucial the team ensures key players' thoughts are taken into account. If all goes well, he hopes to see legal sports betting in the state as early as April of 2023. 

"Quite honestly, I would like to go live in the summer, when all of our visitors come up from other states, and if they want to sit by their campsite with their iPhones and bet on the Red Sox game," Champion said. "It would be great for them to have the ability to do that, because when they're in Maine and they make a transaction in Maine, Maine gets the revenue."

From June 2021 to July of 2022, bets placed by people in neighboring New Hampshire totaled nearly 24 million dollars in revenue for that state.

Champion expects Maine to see around four to seven million dollars in revenue.

New to the team is recent Husson University graduate Kyle Bourget. He'll be working to review any concerns or comments key players may have. Those comments will play a part in how soon official rules can come out. 

"If we can solve those in the beginning, then it'll be smooth from there," Bourget said. "Looking into responsible gaming is a big thing, that's probably the biggest concern [for the state]."

The next step is a hearing for public comments on the rules which will be held in late January. 

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