The Maine Gambling Control Unit has told local media that they are committed to launching sports betting before the end of 2023, despite the turmoil at the agency including the departure of its director the previous week.
According to the Press Herald, Maine regulators are ready to move forward with the launch of sports betting this year after the controversy that occurred in recent weeks when director Milton Champion was placed on leave.
Champion was placed on paid leave after posting controversial tweets on his Twitter account. This was just hours after he had released an updated draft sports betting regulations, and claimed that the state would launch the new regulation around Thanksgiving.
It is only the latest in a long and difficult period for Maine’s sports betting regulation process. The work has been done laboriously since 2022, when Governor Janet Mills signed legislation.
The Press Herald reports that the Gambling Control Unit still hopes to launch in November.
“The Gambling Control Unit is committed to implementing this law within the timeframe previously discussed publicly, which was November,” said Lt. Thomas Pickering, of the Maine State Police commented.
There are rumors that despite this assurance, Maine’s regulation on sports betting will be delayed further due to the controversy surrounding it and Champion’s resignation.
Steven Silver of the Gambling Control Board responded to the Press Herald by saying: “I believe that is a very good question and that many people ask it.
It’s not known at all. “The unit is responsible for overseeing all sports betting, as the Legislature has directed that it should be done through them, not the board.”
It is not surprising that the process of regulating sport betting has been controversial. The Gambling Control Unit, after publishing a draft regulation in January, received a request from the AGA to reconsider plans to restrict sports betting advertising.
After the draft stipulated TV ads could only be shown during games on the channel the game was broadcast on and that no bonuses or offers were allowed to be advertised, Bill Miller President of the AGA cited concerns about the black market as a cause to reevaluate these measures.
He wrote : “The AGA encourages the Maine Gambling Control Unit (MGCU) to remove the advertising restrictions contained in the proposed regulation, which, if adopted, will undermine an important tool used by the legal industry to inform the public of licensed operators. It would also empower illegal sportsbooks and limit the success the legal market in Maine.
Maine has acknowledged that legal sports betting improves consumer protections, promotes transparency, and ensures game integrity. It also supports job growth and generates tax revenue. To realize these benefits it is essential to avoid policies that, even if they are well-intentioned, will undermine the ability of regulated sportsbooks to compete with illegal operators.