Maine Casinos Set Records in 2018, Sports Betting Bill Ready
Maine’s casinos reported a record of $144 million in revenue in 2018.
The state only has two casinos, but the revenue has been rolling in regardless. The state doesn’t have sports betting to bolster additional income, but might see it in the future to supplement slot machines and table games.
Maine’s Casino Specifics
The two casinos in Maine, Oxford Casino and Hollywood Casino, sent a combined $58 million in tax revenue to the state in 2018.
Oxford Casino made the bulk of the money. After taxes, the larger of the two state casinos made around $57 million. Hollywood’s post-tax revenue was $32.5 million. The nearly double revenue comes from Oxford’s 240 extra slot machines and 30 table games, nearly double Hollywood’s 18 tables.
Executive director of Maine’s gambling control unit Milt Champion, speaking with the Press Herald, said he didn’t expect them to continue reeling in revenue on levels from 2018.
“I don’t think we will continue to see the increases. There is only so much discretionary money, pretty soon you will see the casinos do a little bit less because sports wagering will come on board.”
The big thing to keep in mind is the fact that all the revenue is without sports betting, so there’s every possibility revenue increases if sports betting is legalized in the state. Still, it’s only speculation, and senior director of the American Gaming Association David Forman isn’t expecting a sharp drop.
“Maine’s two casinos performed very well, they grew at a faster clip than the industry overall or the economy overall,” he said. “Maine is pretty well positioned to continue to succeed.”
Maine Sports Betting Bill
We might find out soon if sports betting will add to casino revenue, or simply shift it around. Maine’s legislature sent a bill to the governor’s desk Tuesday night that would legalize sports betting at the two casinos, plus mobile and online betting.
The bill would allow 11 regular gambling properties to apply for licenses to operate brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in site of their properties. 4 Native American tribes would also be able to operate sportsbooks.
The legislature is prepared to allow online/mobile sportsbooks to operate without a partnership of a physical sportsbook anchor, which is different than most other states. Tennessee similarly allows a “free market” approach, but most states require a sort of physical anchor.
State Senator Louis Luchini, speaking with the Press Herald on a different occasion, said he believed the more open market approach is more appropriate, given how some online business is conducted.
“To me, it’s a strange way to write a law that would require a new business to come into Maine only if they tether their license to an existing business. We don’t require Amazon to tether to existing grocery stores and we don’t require Airbnb to tether to hotels.”
Currently there’s no cap to the number of sportsbooks that would be allowed, nor would the data mandates or integrity fees. The bill sits on the desk of Governor Janet Mills at time of writing.
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