Governor Janet Mill has vetoed the bill that would make sports betting legal in Maine, which would have made it the 14th state to legalize the hobby. This means that, so far, it is still illegal to bet on horse races, football, and other sports online. Though not covered by the bill, Americans in Maine are still not able to play gambling games online or use the online codes. Now, the lawmakers are taking action to override her veto, but the process may be more cumbersome than it seems. Even if the override does happen, it will not be there in time for the Super Bowl.
The Veto and the Bill
This is one of the three bills Mill has vetoed so far and, reportedly, waited until the last minute to do so, allowing 24 other bills to be passed into laws without her signature. The Democratic governor claimed she remained “unconvinced” that Maine should expand on the gambling legislature at this time.
The idea to introduce this legislature comes from the 2017 decision of the high court to allow individual states to control and legislate gambling as they see fit. It was also an attempt to curb illegal gambling by introducing the framework for its careful monitoring. There are some generous estimates stating that the state would earn as much as $5 million a year in taxes from online gambling. In fact, there are already thousands and thousands of dollars circulating in the illegal betting market in Maine. However, the bill hit the obstacle and serious planning will be required to make it into a law, which many see as both a shame and a moot point, seeing as how the state already has the lottery, casinos, and off-track betting.
Overriding the Veto
In order to override the veto, 24 senators would have to disagree with the governor’s decision. The vote has not yet been taken at the time of writing but is expected to occur soon. While lobbyists are pushing towards this decision, the override is still far from being certain.
One argument the proponents of the bill are pushing in favor of the legislation concerns Mill’s statement regarding problem gamblers and the youth that might suffer from such legislation. Critics point out that the veto seems a bit hypocritical when compared to medicinal marijuana, which is legal in the state of Maine.
The Bottom Line
There is still the issue of all forms of gambling, whether legal or illegal, happening in Maine. The new bill could prove to be the means to regulate the issue and address the betting odds and other practices by introducing rules. It could also benefit the state financially. However, one cannot ignore the effect of gambling on people prone to addiction and impressionable minors. The veto is still somewhat controversial and the end result is still unclear.