The state of Maine took a step backward when compared to others in the United States last week as a sports betting bill was vetoed by Governor Janet Mills. In 2019, several states legalized sports betting and this year, already movement has been made to see others join the fray. Instead of agreeing with the legislation that moved through Legislature, the governor feels that the residents of the state are not ready and did not approve the measure.
After deciding to veto the measure, Governor Mills produced a veto letter. In the letter, she stated that she felt the bill was a good effort to regulate an activity that has a black market without over-regulating or overtaxing the option. However, she is not convinced that the majority of residents in the state are ready to see betting legalized on athletic events.
The Governor stated further that before her state enters the sports betting market, she believes that the issue needs to be examined more clearly to better understand the experiences of other states that offer the option. With time, the state can determine the best course of action to take with a balance that will suppress illegal gambling activities and protect young gamblers and those who are not able to absorb their loses via a regulated scheme.
Legislature in the state approved the bill at the end of the legislative session last year. Based on state law, the governor has the right to take more time to evaluate a bill if it passed within seven days of the end of the session. Governor Mills did not address the bill in 2019 and this allowed her to wait through the beginning of the 2020 session to decide what to do. The governor also has the option to allow the bill to pass without signing it.
Second State to Veto Sports Betting
With the decision by the governor of Maine, the state becomes the second since sports betting was legalized in the state to reject legislation. The first was former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Legislation was quickly approved in Maine by Legislature and Snyder was expected to sign the measure. However, he waited until he was about to leave office to veto the measure in 2018, causing the state to start over in 2019.
Governor Mills also tried to make a point about revenues as to why she was vetoing the measure, but it just doesn’t have any weight. She pointed out that some states have seen revenues fall short of projections and that mobile gaming has an economic impact on preexisting facilities.
She stated further that legalized sports betting can bring revenue to the state but the same premise economic-wise could justify legalizing all forms of gambling including betting on the weather, school board elections and other odd options.
For now, it seems Maine will have to start over in efforts to bring sports betting to the state. It seems legislators are going to have to make changes to convince the Governor to approve the measure once another one works through Legislature.