What types of gambling are legal in Maine?
Maine offers a diverse group of legalized gambling games. These include racing, a state lottery, sports betting, charitable gaming, fantasy sports and casinos.
Most forms of Maine legalized gambling have a minimum age of 18. The exception is casino gambling. Patrons there must be at least 21 years of age.
This list shows the types of gambling found in Maine and where to find it:
- Horseracing (live, off-track and mobile)
- Lottery (scratch-offs, and lotto sales at retailers, online lotto subscriptions)
- Slots, video poker, live poker and table games (commercial casinos)
- Bingo, beano, card tournaments and raffles (tribal and registered charities)
- Daily fantasy sports (online only)
Online Gambling in Maine
There are three forms of legalized online gambling in Maine. These are fantasy sports, horseracing and lotto subscriptions.
DraftKings, FanDuel, Fantast Draft and Yahoo are among the daily fantasy sports operators that accept players from Maine. BetAmerica and TwinSpires accept horseracing action from state residents. The Maine Lottery sells subscriptions to major interstate lotto drawings on its website with a minimum of 13 weeks purchased at a time.
Online Gambling Laws in Maine
In May 2017, Maine passed a fantasy sports bill that declared the game to be skill-based. There is a licensing fee of $2,500 and a 10 percent tax rate for companies that generate at least $100,000 in gross revenues a year from the state’s players. The minimum age is 18. The Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Unit is its regulator.
Mobile horseracing is made possible under the Horseracing Act of 1978. The Maine State Harness Racing Commission approved this expansion in 2017.
Bettors must be at least 18 years old. Lottery subscriptions are permitted through a change of policy at the agency. All other forms of online gambling are illegal in the state. It is considered unlicensed gambling in the same way it would be at a brick-and-mortar location.
Land-based Casinos in Maine
Two Maine racetracks offer casinos. These are Hollywood Casino and Oxford Casino. Table games include blackjack, craps, roulette, High Card Flush and Three Card Poker. Live poker, slots and video poker are also permitted at Maine casinos.
Casino Laws in Maine
Maine casinos were created through Question 2 on November 4, 2003. It passed by a 53 to 47 vote. The law permitted slot machines at the state’s three racetracks. It requires local approval through a referendum. Two of the three racetracks in the state received this approval. The third, in Oxford County, has been fighting for casino-style gambling ever since.
The original amendment only permitted slot machines, video poker and electronic table games. A 2010 ballot question added table games to the mix. Casinos pay a 25 percent tax rate to the state. Much of that goes to horseracing operations and purses. Casino players must be at least 21 years of age.
Sports Betting in Maine
The Maine Legislature passed a sports betting bill in 2019. It was vetoed by the governor. The legislature was unable to override the veto. Sports betting in Maine is currently illegal. This applies to live and online version of the game.
Sports Betting Laws in Maine
Title 17-A Part 2 Chapter 39 Section 952 defines illegal bookmaking as unlawfully accepting bets from the public as a business and not as a social activity. If a person accepts five bets totaling more than $500 in a 24-hour period, it is a class B misdemeanor.
Poker in Maine
Live poker is Maine is legal at the state’s casinos. Hollywood Casino in Bangor is the only one with the games. There are no game or bet limits.
Poker Laws in Maine
Poker was legalized in Maine in 2010 for a January 1, 2011 launch through the same legislation that legalized table game in the state. Previously, all legal live poker was at home games and charities.
Home Poker Games
Home poker games are legal in Maine if the event is social and not commercial. No rake may be taken. All players must have an equal chance of winning. There are no limits to the bets at home poker games if it otherwise conforms to what is considered a social event.
Fantasy Sports in Maine
Fantasy sports contests are considered a game of skill in Maine. Players in the state may only enter contests involving professional sports. Collegiate and amateur ones are not permitted. All major operators accept contest entries from Maine. This includes DraftKings, FanDuel, Fantasy Draft and Yahoo.
Fantasy Sports Laws in Maine
Maine passed a fantasy sports law in August 2017. It declared the contests exempt from state gambling laws. Fantasy sports is considered a game of skill in Maine.
Thee Maine Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Unit regulates the companies that offer contests in the state. Companies that generate at least $100,000 in revenues in Maine must pay an annual $2,500 licensing fee and a 10 percent tac on gross revenues. There is a ban on events that are not a part of professional sports. This includes colleges. Contests may not include site employees and must have responsible gambling protocols built into the software. Players must be at least 18 years old.
The Maine Lottery is one of the most popular in the region. It set its latest revenue record in 2019.
Tickets are sold to lotto drawings, Fast Play and instant games. Instant games start at $1 and run as high as $25. Lotto drawings are in-state, tri-state and nationwide games. Most tickets must be purchased at retailers. There are no online sales beyond subscriptions to four nationwide lotto drawings.
Interstate Maine Lottery Games
- Gimme 5
- Lotto America
- Lucky for Life
- Megabucks Plus
- Mega Millions
Intrastate Maine Lottery Games
- Pick 3
- Pick 4
- World Poker Tour
Maine Lottery Laws
The Maine Lottery was created through a legislatively referred ballot question. It was Question 1 on the November 1973 ballot. Revenues up to 55 percent of sales were directed towards the general fund. The first drawing was called Play Me. It was held on June 27, 1974. The first instant game tickets were sold the following year. The Maine Lottery joined multi-state drawings in 1985. Players must be at least 18 years old.
Maine Horse Racing
There are two horse racing tracks in Maine. These are located at Bangor Raceway and Scarborough Downs. Bets may be made on live races and ones in other states at off-track betting parlors. There are four off-track betting parlors at taverns, as well as at the two state racetracks. Bets may be made on mobile devices through BetAmerica and TwinSpires.
Maine Horse Racing Laws
Horseracing started in 1893 in Maine. Races were held at Bass Park and state fairs in those days. In 1935, pari-mutuel betting pools were approved in the state. In 2017, pari-mutuel betting was expanded to simulcast racing. This allowed off-track betting parlors and mobile sports betting. Horse bettors must be at least 18 years of age.
Maine Skill-based Gaming Laws
Gambling in Maine is defined as risking something of value on a contest of chance or future contingent event. This allows gaming that involves skill. One example is how the state declared fantasy sports to be a skill game, removing it from gambling prohibitions. Skill-based gaming devices are legal in Maine for this reason.
There are no laws specifically pertaining to eSports. Participants making wagers with other players would fall under a skill game. Social gaming exclusions would permit wagers among observers in many situations. Organized bookmaking around these activities is illegal.
Traditional Games of Skill
Games of skill on traditional sites like Worldwinner have some restrictions in Maine. Cards may not be used. However, other contests such as trivia and puzzles are permitted.
Skill-based Gaming Machines
Skill-based gaming machines are legal in Maine arcades and casinos.
Maine Charity Gambling Law
Charitable gaming was legalized in Maine in 1975. Players must be at least 18 years of age.
Maine permits registered charities to spread certain forms of gambling. This includes bingo, beano, raffles, cribbage tournaments and card games with a $1 bet limit. A bingo game’s prize pool may not exceed $400. An entire night may not exceed $1,400 in prizes, except one time per year, it may be up to $2,000. Raffles cannot exceed $75,000 in prizes.