Governor Puts Maine Sports Betting Bill on Hold

Published July 8, 2019 by Elana K

Governor Puts Maine Sports Betting Bill on Hold

Maine governor Janet Mills puts the sports betting bill on hold, essentially pushing off making a decision until the start of the next legislative session.

While Maine sports betting seemed so promising only two weeks ago, Governor Janet Mills did not approve the bill as it sat on her desk at the end of the legislative session - however, she didn't veto it either. Rather, she put the bill on hold - froze it, essentially - along with 38 other bills. When a bill gets put on hold, all is not lost. It can be revived when the legislature returns for 3 consecutive days. In this case, that will most likely be in January 2020.

Mills move is a bit surprising since the bill faced minimal opposition in the legislature. In fact, the proposed sports betting bill seemed like a win-win for everyone - sports fan would get to bet legally on games they love, while the state would enjoy revenue from taxes and licensing fees.

There's Still Hope

The bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Louis Luchini mentioned there may be an option for him to work through the bill with the governor in a special session. “I’ve met with her and she expressed some concerns which resulted in her not signing the bill,” he said. “I greatly respect her opinions and am happy to work with her on a resolution if possible.”

Other Good News

Even if a special session isn’t held, the fact that Governor Mills didn’t veto the bill is a good sign. Once the legislature resumes, Mills will have 3 days to veto it. If she doesn’t, it will become law, even without her signature. This might work in the governor’s favor. As Rep. Scott Strom explained, “She doesn’t want her name on expanding gambling in the state. She doesn’t agree with it, but people who have been meeting with her said she admitted there is a black market for it so she will let it slide.” 

While it's easy to speculate, the cold, hard facts remain - as of now, sports betting remains illegal in Maine.

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