Efforts to Bring iGaming to Wabanaki Tribes of Maine Fail Again

Updated On Apr 17, 2024 by Ella McDonald


  • The House killed the bill a few hours after it was reintroduced.
  • The measure would expand the tribe’s authority regarding online gambling to casino games.
  • The Wabanaki tribes already offer online sports betting services.

The Maine Senate, in a repeated attempt, decided to bring back a failed bill involving the Wabanaki tribes and an extension for iGaming, only to witness its failure yet again.

Despite the Senate’s efforts to revive the measure to allow the tribes to offer online casino gaming in Maine alongside sports betting, the House dismissed the bill just a few hours after its introduction.

Trying Again

Following the previous week’s failure, the bill to allow online poker, blackjack, and slot games via the Wabanaki tribes was brought back for reconsideration. Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mattie Daughtry, who had initially voted against the bill, requested a reconsideration, leading to a revote. This procedural move allowed Daughtry to change her vote, leading to a 19-13 passage of the bill in the Senate.

This caused a revote, and the measure passed in the Senate 19-13. This is common practice, as a lawmaker will vote on the prevailing side of a bill even if they do not agree with the vote to legally bring the bill back later.

It was time for House consideration once the bill passed in the Senate. The measure was unable to move forward with an almost split vote of 70-75. This was one less vote of support when the bill first moved through the House. Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana was happy to see the Senate reverse the bill. The tribes see the bill as a way for them to continue with economic development.

Opponents and Supporters

Opponents of the measure are critical of the bill, stating it would exclude existing casino operators and may lead to job losses at physical casino venues. Some are concerned there will also be an increase in gambling addiction among players.

Supporters see the $100 million in expected revenues for the tribe in the coming years as a way to bring economic development to the region. Supporters also argue that allowing the tribes to have exclusive rights will help address long-standing inequity against them.

The bill would use tax revenues from iGaming to help fund 911 systems and emergency housing. It would also help with gambling addiction programs. The Maine Gambling Control Board Chairman, Steve Silver, opposes the bill, stating that licensing should not be limited to tribes. He is concerned about the bill’s impact on the groups that receive revenues from the two physical casinos in Maine.

It is unclear if lawmakers will try again or if the bill is truly dead in the water.

Ella McDonald Author

Worldwide gambling related news stories are what you will find being written by Ella, she has a keen interest however in UK and European based new stories relating to all gaming environments, and she is always prepared to ask the difficult questions many other journalists avoiding asking those in power.

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