Maine and Indiana step up sports betting preparations

Lawmakers in the US states of Maine and Indiana are making progress on legislation to allow sports betting.

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Lawmakers are pressing on with gambling legislation despite the DOJ’s recent opinion reversal on the Wire Act. © Pexels.

Legislators in Indiana have filed a motion that would legalise sports betting in the state, with the aim of taking licence applications by October.

House Bill 1363 calls for a 6.25% tax on gross gaming revenue (GGR) for bets taken in-person, although online and mobile rates have not been put forward.

Operators may begin taking bets on January 1 2020 after obtaining a licence from the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC). The licensing fee is $75,000, along with a yearly $10,000 payment.

Representative Allan Morrison, who filed the bill, estimates that anything from $2.2m to $13.3m will be earned in tax revenue from the bill. He has committed to ensuring that $100,000 of the revenue will go towards programmes treating problem gambling. The bill is been referred to the committee on public policy after going through first reading.

In Maine, lawmakers are currently drafting sports betting legislation. Numerous bills are being written, sponsored by Portland representative Benjamin Collins and Senate President Troy Jackson, covering numerous types of betting. It is expected that a compromise from the different bills will eventually help form the state’s regulatory framework.

90 days to act on DOJ’s Wire Act ruling

On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it was reversing its standing on the Wire Act. Currently, only sports betting falls under the Act and is prohibited across state lines, however the DOJ has now stated the Act encompasses all forms of gambling.

Experts are not expecting the new reading to have huge effects in reality. However, the DOJ have announced that operators will have 90 days to make the required preparations before the ruling is implemented.

Operators seem unmoved by the news, but should payment processors take notice, then online gambling could hit a stumbling block. Should payment processors be pressured into stopping transactions related to online gambling, then all online bets could be off in the US.

Whatever the effect, experts have rightly pointed out that the news is part of a wider debate surrounding regulating the growing online gambling industry in the US.

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