Maine lawmakers propose online and land-based casino tribal rights

The lawmakers in Maine are seriously pondering involving the established tribes belonging to the region in offering all sorts of gambling rights. The package will contain internet gambling as well as casinos and electronic beano and harness racing. Incidentally, the tribes have been engaged in providing online sports wagering for the past three months.

Three bills brought forward from the last legislative meeting will be placed before the public hearings in Augusta. Though the bills may not receive approval from Governor Janet Mills, who is strictly against gambling, this may lead to the acceptance of the tribe’s dominance in Maine. 

According to the Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1980, Maine’s tribes are regarded as municipalities rather than sovereign nations. The tribes are working with activists in the area as well as neutral lawmakers to get comparable privileges as afforded to the 570 federally recognized tribes.

Governor Mills, who has consistently opposed wider acceptance measures, has proposed some small changes to the 1980 accord. Following a recent conference between tribal leaders and Governor Mills, there appears to be a ray of hope that the situation may alter during the forthcoming legislative session.

Bill L.D. 1777, introduced by Representative Laura Supica, D-Bangor, and supported by Democratic party officials, seeks to include federally recognized tribes under the umbrella of internet gambling in addition to sports betting. It also mentions a redistribution strategy for online gambling income, with 40% going to Maine’s E-9-1-1 Fund, 20% going to Opioid Use Disorder Prevention, and 20% going to the Emergency Housing Relief Fund.

Tribes will be given special access to online gambling certificates through the Gambling Control section of the Department of Public Safety, similar to the current online sports wagering law.

Supica believes that this is a desirable approach, especially in the vase of Central and Northern Maine, where the economy is struggling.

As per the latest gambling news, Steve Silver, chairman of the Maine Gambling Control Board, appears to be opposed to the policy and is concerned about the reduction of certifications granted to tribes and the negative consequences associated with communities receiving revenue from Maine’s existing casinos. From his perspective, the proposed legislation could result in financial losses amounting to $2.4 million, which would be associated with public education and other services. He believes that the state’s official legalization of iGaming would yield advantageous outcomes. Furthermore, he believes that the bill should be modified to establish a connection between casinos and nations and address taxation concerns.

The L.D. 1944 and L.D. 1992 are the legislation sponsored by Representative Ben Collings, D-Portland. Since online sports wagering was introduced in November, Maine residents have wagered nearly $76 million, with DraftKings emerging as the frontrunner with $61 million.

David Bright

David Bright joined Times of Casino as a news writer focused on the casino industry. He holds a bachelor degree in Economics and Accounting and currently contributing in-depth news articles. David writes on the casinos, gambling legislation, poker, and much more.

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