Although the state has fairly puritanical roots, gambling played a significant part in the early history of the state. During the infancy of its statehood, Maine allowed lotteries and raffle-oriented games. Regulations concerning these activities evolved over decades. Maine’s state lottery (in its modern form) was approved in 1973. It has only been recently that the gambling sector has expanded, promising greater recreational opportunities for the public and as well as tax revenue for public goods. In 2004, a referendum authorized racetracks to have slot machines. Casinos have only recently come to the state – in 2011 to be exact. Individuals 21 years of age may participate in gambling at casinos and those at least 18 years of age may participate in activities such as the lottery, bingo, pari-mutuel, etc. So, while Maine is not a bustling gambling state by any means, it is attempting to close the gap between itself and gambling titans.
Maine currently does not have laws allowing or prohibiting online gambling. Players run the risk of engaging in a misdemeanor if caught, but there is no indication as of yet that low-level online gambling is a focal point for state prosecutors, especially assuming that online platforms are regulated by at least some type of legitimate (governmental) regulatory authority.
Due to the fact that Maine is in the midst of a gambling industry expansion, most recent developments have centered on just that topic. In 2012, for instance, the popular Oxford Casino opened. That casino was the first commercial operation in the state. Since the beginning of this expansion, as one could imagine, there has been an uptick in special interest in-fighting since so many entities are clamoring to be permitted to open up casinos. This competition, however, is good for industry as well as the state government because it signals that tax revenues may very well increase due to economic growth. For instance, tribal groups have been competing to convince the state legislature to sign on to a number of new gambling initiatives such as the following: beano, slot machines, and diversified gambling device casinos. Currently, the legislature is not yet at a point of being able to make an informed and politically neutral decision, so it has held off on further actions. Although there are numerous competing interests, it bears mentioning that all entities, as well as players stand to gain substantially by an expansion of the gambling industry.
Casinos in Maine
Currently these are the only casinos in the state of Maine:
- Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway
- Oxford Casino
- Penobscot High Stakes Bingo Casino
- Scarborough Downs