AUGUSTA – One of three bills Governor Janet Mills vetoed last week would have legalized wagering on sports games in Maine. If some lawmakers get their way it’ll still happen, but it’s not a sure bet.
Some lawmakers are looking to override the veto.
“She has legitimate concerns and I think they’re concerns that apply to all forms of gambling,” said Sen. Louis Luchini, D – Ellsworth, about the veto.
Sen. Luchini brought forward the sports betting bill last year that got a 19 to 15 vote in the Maine State Senate.
Now to override the governor veto, the bill needs a two thirds vote in the house and the senate.
“What we do know in Maine – there’s a significant illegal market operating, the U.S. attorney just had a huge bust…this bill seeks to establish a legal, regulated system,” said Sen. Luchini.
In a statement, Governor Mills said before Maine joins other states in legalizing we first have to find the best approach for Maine, saying in part, “that approach needs to balance the desire to suppress gambling activities now being conducted illegally and the need to protect youthful gamblers and those least able to absorb losses under a closely regulated scheme.”
This is an issue that has not followed party lines.
A Republican senator echoed the governor’s message, and said he always votes against gambling expansion.
“I’ve seen the financial problems that it causes families…I know about too many bank accounts of people that cannot afford to be there,” said Sen. James Hamper, R – Oxford.
Senator Luchini said getting the votes for an override will be a high hurdle but he’s had constituents reach out in support.
He said the override vote in the Maine State Senate was tabled Tuesday and he’s not sure exactly when it’ll come back up.
In the meantime, New Hampshire is generating revenue for its recently legalized sports betting.
“I was in New Hampshire right after New Year’s and I set up a DraftKings account and I bet on Tom Brady and the Patriots, it was a bad bet but I had to try it out,” said Sen. Luchini.