Maine Casinos, Gambling, and Law Regulations: An Overview

The state of Maine finds itself in a sort of a transition period when gambling is concerned. Gambling has a long history in Maine and was mostly focused on pari-mutuel betting on horse and harness racing back in the 1950s when it was the only form of gambling allowed. However, from the 1970s onwards, crucial changes have been made that have led to the legalization of casinos and casino games, the lottery, charitable gaming, pari-mutuel betting, and other forms of gambling.

Under the Maine Gambling Laws, the Pine Tree State has founded the Gambling Control Unit that is in charge of licensing gambling facilities, lotteries, and bingo halls. At the moment, there are three registered race tracks, two of which operate as race tracks and casinos, now popularly called โ€œracinos.โ€

In this article, we will take you through the main gambling laws in Maine (pun intended) and gaming regulations, as well as tell you where you can play your favorite casino games when in Maine.

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Gambling Laws in Maine โ€” The Law Overview

Gambling in Maine is regulated through Title 17, Chapter 39 of the Maine Criminal Code which focuses on the unlawful gambling forms. In contrast, the regulated forms of gambling are described in Title 8 of the Criminal Code. Under Maine Law, the licensing jurisdiction was passed on the Maine Gambling Control Unit, entitled to license, oversee, and inspect all gambling operators in Maine.

Throughout history, Maine has approved many forms of gambling. The lottery was first established in Maine in 1974, followed by the 1973 Lottery Bill sponsored by the representative Arthur Genest of Waterville. As is the case with all gambling-related legislation changes, this had to go through the public vote and constitutional amendments as well.

Harness and horse racing were first allowed in 1935, and are still legal today โ€” both harness horse racing and off-track pari-mutuel betting. The wagering is done under the supervision of the Maine State Harness Racing Commission.

Another significant legislation change happened in 1993 when greyhound racing was prohibited, and the penalty for violating the greyhound racing ordinance was set at $7,500.

Further major updates occurred in 2003 when the gambling legislation allowed slot machines and casino table games on racetracks. In 2010, two referendums were held and they approved the construction of two land-based casinos in Oxford.

Maine Criminal Code โ€” Statutes Revised

Under the Revised Statutes of Maineโ€™s Criminal Code, we can see that more emphasis was put on illicit gambling and combating it. First of all, the law considers gambling an action when: โ€œA person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.โ€

Also, illegal gambling can be seen in a situation where โ€œany person is guilty of unlawful gambling if that person intentionally or knowingly advances or profits from unlawful gambling activity.โ€ Illegal gambling is marked as a class D crime that can involve jail time and implies that the person found guilty must forfeit all the winnings related to the offense to the state.

All forms of gambling not licensed by the state and not conducted by authorized providers are considered illegal gambling.

Oddly enough, even though there are four recognized Native American Tribes in the territory of Maine and considering that the federal the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act from 1988 is in power, there are no Native American Tribal Casinos. The Passamaquoddy tribe tried to push a bill through the House of Representatives to legalize Tribal Casinos in 2014, but the bill died.

The minimum gambling age at all casinos in Maine is 21 for slots and casinos, and 18 for pari-mutuel wagering and lottery. All slot games in casinos must have a minimum 89% daily payback percentage, and no casino can operate more than 1,500 slots at any time.

Gambling facilities are taxed at the rate of 1% of all gross gambling revenues per year, plus an additional 39% on all net revenues.

What Forms of Gambling Are Allowed?

One of the most popular types of gambling in Maine is the lottery. The Main state lottery also includes interstate draws like Powerball and Mega Millions, with pot sizes worth hundreds of millions at times. The state of Maine uses the revenue generated to fund infrastructure, education, and public services.

Next up is casino gambling. The type of casino gambling accepted in Maine is a fusion between race tracks and typical casinos that is known as a โ€œracino.โ€ Licensed casino gambling facilities can offer slots, blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, and a variety of other table games. The operating hours of casinos can be 24/7, with the sole restriction of the number of slots.

Charity organizations can organize bingo draws and beano low stakes games. Only registered charity organizations that have been in existence for longer than two years can hold bingo draws. The annual license fee is set at $400, and there can be only 27 weekends of bingo games per year.

On-track and off-track wagering on horse and harness racing is allowed and regulated by the Maine State Harness Racing Commission. There are three race tracks in Maine players can use for wagering on horse races, and two of these are racinos.

Is Online Gambling Allowed in Maine?

No statute of Maineโ€™s Criminal Code makes any reference to online gambling except the regulation of fantasy contests. Fantasy contests are licensed and regulated, but that’s the only licensed option available.

Scouring the law, we havenโ€™t find anything that bans online gambling; however, under the Section 5 and 5a of Chapter 39 on Unlawful Gambling, it is said that: โ€œGambling device” means any device, machine, paraphernalia or equipment that is used or usable in the playing phases of any gambling activity, whether that activity consists of gambling between persons or gambling by a person involving the playing of a machine.โ€ One could argue that a personal computer or smartphone can be considered such a machine and thus fall under the category of โ€œIllegal gambling machine” means any machine, including electronic devices, however operated.โ€

However, the bottom line is that no one in Maine has ever been persecuted for playing in offshore online casinos and betting sites, which means you can freely access them without any fear of legal retribution from the state.

Where to Gamble in Maine?

Maine has two licensed casino facilities at the moment. These facilities offer top casino table games, slots, and entertainment centers. Letโ€™s check them out more closely.

Hollywood Casino in The City of Bangor

The Hollywood Casino in Bangor is a Vegas-style casino resort with close to 800 top slot machines, dozens of blackjack, roulette, and craps table games. The casino is also home to only live poker table games such as Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and 7-Card Stud, operating from 10 AM to 3 AM daily, which are the working hours of the entire resort. Hollywood Casino also offers a superb dining experience that even includes an all-you-can-eat buffet. The accommodation arrangements include deluxe rooms and suites where you can feel like a rock star. The casino is located on 500 Main St, Bangor, ME 04401, USA.

Oxford Casino and Hotel

Oxford Casino and Hotel is located on 777 Casino Way, Oxford, ME 04270, and is the second only licensed casino in Maine. It features over 1,000 slot machines from top software providers like IGT, Scientific Games, and Aristocrat. The table games offer is a bit scarcer, but you can still enjoy 30 of blackjack, roulette, craps, three card poker, and other table games. Moreover, their brand new hotel with top-notch accommodation facilities is a perfect place to stay while hitting the lever of your favorite slots.

To get a respite from all the action, you can grab a bite at one of the three restaurants and bars at premises and enjoy the best grill the town of Oxford can offer. The working hours of the casino resort are 24/7.

FAQ

Are casinos legal in Maine?

Operating casinos in Maine is entirely legal, and there are two casinos in Maine you can go to for a premier gaming experience.

Is online poker legal in Maine?

Unfortunately, online poker is not deemed legal under the gambling laws in Maine, but no laws forbid you from playing at offshore poker rooms.

What games can you gamble on in Maine?

In Maine, you can gamble on slots, blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, and other casino games, as well as lottery, horse and harness racing.

Do casinos in Maine have casino table games?

Absolutely. All casinos in Maine have casino table games.

What is the legal age for gambling in Maine?

The legal age for entering casinos is 21, while for pari-mutuel wagering and lottery, you need to be over 18.