Maine is one of those oft-forgotten states that seems to be more of a mystery than anything else to a lot of folks. Apart from moose and lobsters, people are not all that knowledgeable with regard to what goes on in Maine and how its history was shaped. This is something that is especially true when talking about gambling in the state. In fact, there are plenty of Maine residents who are still unclear as to the exact casino laws in the state.
To be fair, Maine’s casino history is not very rich at all. The state made it a long time without ever really bringing the issue upfront and center, but in recent years that is something that has changed. In total, Maine has only 2 casinos that residents and visitors can gamble at. Though this may not seem like much, you must consider the fact that Maine is ranked 42nd out of 50 states with regard to population. As such, having 8 or 10 casinos is something that would undoubtedly prove to be more wasteful than anything else.
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Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway
Maine used to be an anti-gambling state, but the political climate around games of chance changed in the noughties as new gambling-friendly regulations were passed. The local lawmakers started by allowing slot games at the racetracks in 2004, but the push for more regulated gambling didn’t stop there and in 2012 the first Maine casino opened its doors to the general public.
Aside from casino-style games, Maine residents are allowed to engage in some forms of charitable gambling, pari-mutuel wagering, and state-controlled lotto games. Maine doesn’t have an intrastate online gambling industry, so for the time being internet gambling enthusiasts have to stick to offshore sites
Over that last 40 years, Maine has transitioned from prohibiting gambling to regulating it. Although some forms of gambling are still illegal outside licensed facilities, if the legalization trend continues, it’s possible we will see those bans lifted in the future.
Being that there are only 2 casinos in the entire state, it should not come as much of a surprise that they are both of the same variety. Land-based casinos in Maine are those that are licensed and regulated by the state. These casinos come complete with slot games, video poker, and all the table games one might expect to find at a casino.
In addition to this, both of Maine’s casinos have hotels and other amenities, such as restaurants and shopping. Though comparatively smaller than what you might find on the Las Vegas Strip, Maine’s casinos are able to offer you the full casino experience.
Maine is home to two casino locations:
Both of these casinos offer excellent selections of live dealer table games, slot machines, and electronic poker. Players that are too far away from these casinos to benefit from their offerings may instead choose to gamble at offshore casinos. Our list of recommended online casinos features excellent online blackjack, craps, and roulette options.
With Maine opening up to casinos and gambling, some Las Vegas operators have begun to push for legislative changes in hopes of opening up new locations. Although the citizens and representatives of Maine are warming up to the existing casinos due to the much-needed revenue they add to state departments, public perception of out-of-state casino chains remains intensely negative.
Maine officially recognizes four different Native-American tribes, but none of them have been permitted to build casinos.
Players may own and operate slot machines of any make and age in their home as long as they don’t generate a profit.
As of today, sports betting is illegal in Maine. State Representative Louis Luchini says that bills on sports betting may be introduced as early as 2019, but he believes it would be a hard battle requiring a law that would “expressly legalize sports betting.” The $54.5 million of revenue brought in by Maine’s two casinos has started to intrigue governing parties and is a major selling point for the introduction of sports betting.
At the time of this writing, there were no active bills or proposals in motion that would lead to the legalization of sports betting.
Maine doesn’t differentiate between gambling on electronic sports (eSports) and traditional sports. As a result, eSports betting is also illegal in the state.
In 2017, Maine legalized paid-entry fantasy sports gambling, classifying it as a game of skill and not chance. However, players must be over the age of 18, and betting on fantasy teams of an amateur or collegiate level is still prohibited.
Players located in Maine can access popular daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
Maine has been one of the most popular horse racing and gambling states in the US since 1935 when pari-mutuel wagering was legalized. There are currently 13 races tracks spread throughout the state:
Gambling on dog racing is illegal in Maine.
As long as players don’t offer poker games for more than three days every three months, hosting poker in either a home or work settings is legal. Maine also has additional rules for poker tournaments, stating that any recognized non-profit group can sponsor a tournament to make it legal. The competition must consist of fewer than 100 people and feature a maximum buy-in of $100.
Finding a live poker table can be challenging in Maine. Standalone poker operations are illegal, and the only casino that offers live poker tables is the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway. Players looking for higher stakes wagering or a more regular poker routine must seek online poker rooms.
If in-home poker games generate revenue, they are considered illegal gaming operations and become open to law enforcement.
In 1974, a state referendum legalized lotteries, and Maine created its first lottery system.
Popular multi-state lotteries available in Maine include:
Maine also offers a state lottery with options such as:
Winners receive 45% of the prize money, while the remaining 55% is divided up among various Maine lottery departments. Any awarded prize money must be claimed within one year of winning; otherwise, it is transferred to Maine’s general fund.
Any organization that obtains a charity gambling license from a Maine county Chief of Police may legally host Bingo games. Maine has a history of cracking down on offenders that try to host charity gaming events without a license.
Currently, the largest Bingo operation is Penobscot Bingo, a Native-American establishment located in Old Town, Maine.
As far as Maine’s casino and gambling history is concerned, one need not look back much further than the 1950s. Around this time, harness racing and the pari-mutuel wagering that came along with it was all the rage in Maine. According to many experts, Maine’s harness racetracks were amongst the best in the nation, and so too was the betting that took place there. Despite other states slowly but surely having largescale casinos accompany most of their racetracks, Maine did not budge and really seemed uninterested in pursuing the expansion of the gambling industry in the state.
By the 1970s Maine joined the revolution that was sweeping across the nation and finally added a statewide lottery. Shortly thereafter, and mostly due to the incredible popularity of the state lottery, Maine moved to join other New England states in establishing lotteries that stretched across state borders; something that would undoubtedly increase the prize monies won and revenue generated for the state simultaneously.
Thanks to the passing of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, two Native American tribes were able to offer bingo games on tribal land. For quite some time, the Native American bingo halls were the only real gambling one could do that did not involve betting on horse and dog races.
In 2010, however, Maine saw a statewide referendum pass that paved the way for the opening of the state’s only two land-based casinos. To this day, the casinos that came as an immediate result of the 2010 referendum are the only two you will find in the state.
Maine does have particularly relaxed laws with regard to social gaming. Games between friends are wholly legal so long as there is no one raking in a profit of any type. That means poker games and other forms of social gambling are able to be played openly and freely all over the state. This is something you will seldom find elsewhere, as states are fairly restrictive when it comes to unregulated gambling.