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Janet Mills vetoes sports betting bill, saying she's 'unconvinced' Mainers want to expand gambling

10th January, 21:00

Gov. Janet Mills speaks during the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce's Early Bird Breakfast in Bangor on Dec. 18.

This story will be updated.

Gov. Janet Mills said Friday that she vetoed a bill passed by the Maine Legislature that would have made Maine the 14th state to legalize, tax and regulate sports betting after it was made legal by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Democratic governor took that step after delaying action on the bill passed by the Maine Legislature in June in one of their biggest moves of the 2019 session. In a veto message, Mills said she was "unconvinced at this time" that Mainers want to expand gambling.

"I appreciate the Legislature's interest in this evolving issue and respectfully request that you sustain this veto while we closely monitor the impact of legalization and the successes and failures in other states as they seek to regulate and benefit from sports betting," Mills said.

The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth, was a response to a 2017 decision by the high court that allowed states to regulate the new sports betting market. It would have tax online and mobile betting revenue at 16 percent while taxing Maine-based facilities such as casinos and off-track betting parlors at 10 percent.

That would have been a liberal policy compared to the other group of states that have so far moved to allow sports betting. Only five states are live with mobile betting now, according to DraftKings.