Maine is not the epicenter for gambling of any kind and getting your betting fix on while in this state is pretty difficult. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sports betting or casino wagering. They are barren on the gambling front—in no small part because they don’t play home to any major professional or collegiate sports teams. Their most prominent organization is the Portland Sea Dogs, the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.
Maine Sports Betting Law
They don’t allow poker, and the closest thing you’ll find to a sportsbook is the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway, which is home to only horse-race betting. Maine’s best attribute is the ambiguity in its laws for certain areas. Your main (sorry, not sorry) hope to indulge in sports wagering lies within the policies they don’t have—like the absence of specific legislature for daily fantasy sports and online betting.
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No Tribal Casinos
Maine has two casinos…both of which are operated by out-of-state corporations. This is incredibly weird, especially because a few local tribes have tried to receive permission to open casinos and been rejected. The initial problem was that Maine only allowed for one casino within its limits, but that all changed in 2012, when the Oxford Casino joined the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway as the state’s second gambling oasis.
Poker is Illegal
Though there are casino poker rooms in Maine, all other forms of card games, with the exception of small social gatherings, are considered illegal. You won’t find private games—at least not legal ones. So if you find yourself in a situation, outside a casino, where someone is running poker game or tournament and taking a cut off the top of entry fees, it’s best to turn around and leave.
Online Gambling…Might Be Fine
As stated previously, Maine doesn’t have rules and regulations for everything, and online gambling falls under that umbrella. It’s not endorsed, but it’s not explicitly prohibited either. That doesn’t mean you have the go-ahead to register with a sportsbook and online casino, but again, it doesn’t mean you do not. This is one of those gray areas you can use to your advantage. Feel free to invest in some internet sportsbooks if you please, just be sure you’re not depositing and withdrawing amounts that create transactions subject to being flagged by the government.
Daily Fantasy Betting is In-Progress
Maine is currently one of the 18 states that have no official laws for or against daily fantasy sports. A bill aimed at allowing enthusiasts to use sites like Draft Kings and FanDuel has been proposed, but it remains pending.
For what it’s worth, however, Maine’s definition of gambling rests on the transaction needing to include a bet or wager. Daily fantasy sports requires entry fees that can result in winnings, which creates another gray area—though, when held to the letter of the law, it would seem that daily fantasy sports have a fighting chance at being permitted some time in the near future.
Maine Gambling Law Overview
Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in Maine at this time.
- Casino Gambling: Legal
- Tribal Gambling: Not specified (but Maine has rejected past proposals from tribes)
- Poker: Not legal
- Horse-Race Betting: Legal
- Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
- Lottery: Legal
- Daily Fantasy Betting: Not legal (but there is a pending proposal)
- Social Gambling: Legal
- Charitable Gambling: Legal
- Online Gambling: Not specified
Maine Sports Teams
Due to the absence of enough noteworthy teams in Maine, we will split our focus between in-house squads and the most popular professional factions that are located outside state lines.
Portland Sea Dogs (MLB Affiliate)
The Portland Sea Dogs are the closest Maine comes to a big-time sports team, which is not saying much, because they are actually a steppingstone en route to a big-time sports team. They serve as the Double-A affiliate for the Boston Red Sox of MLB. Previously, up until 2002, they were the Double-A affiliate for the Florida Marlins.
Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Quite fittingly, given Maine’s proximity to Massachusetts, plus the fact that it plays home to the Sea Dogs, the state’s favorite baseball team is the Red Sox. Four years removed from their World Series victory in 2013, the Red Sox continue to serve as the primary professional sports draw in Maine—and it’s not hard to see why.
Never mind proximity or the absence of other options. The Red Sox are one of the few MLB teams that never seems to go through protracted stretches of irrelevance. Even during their cursed non-championship period, they were consistently among baseball’s most lethal teams.
That remains the case now. They spent two years below .500 after winning the World Series and have since returned to racking up victories at a 90-plus win pace.
New England Patriots (NFL)
Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
The New England Patriots are the favorite NFL team across more than five states. It only makes sense that they could capture the attention of a region so close to Foxborough.
The winning helps. Since Tom Brady took over as the starting quarterback for good in 2001, the Patriots have won less than 10 games just once, while missing the playoffs only twice. This particular era has spanned six Super Bowl appearances and four championships.
It is by far the most dominant dynasty to which the NFL has bore witness, which gives football fans in Maine plenty to cheer about—even now, as the Patriots finished off their most recent season with yet another Super Bowl victory.
Maine’s Biggest Sporting Event of the Year
United States National Toboggan Championships
Yes, this is a real thing. What else did you expect? Maine has no professional sports teams, along with no collegiate powerhouses of which to speak. And so, their biggest sporting event of the year is the United States’ National Toboggan Championships, which take place every year, sometime in February, at the Camden Snow Bowl in Camden, Maine.