Maine used to be an anti-gambling state, but the political climate around games of chance changed in the noughties as new gambling-friendly regulations were passed. The local lawmakers started by allowing slot games at the racetracks in 2004, but the push for more regulated gambling didn’t stop there and in 2012 the first Maine casino opened its doors to the general public.
Aside from casino-style games, Maine residents are allowed to engage in some forms of charitable gambling, pari-mutuel wagering, and state-controlled lotto games. Maine doesn’t have an intrastate online gambling industry, so for the time being internet gambling enthusiasts have to stick to offshore sites.
How to Gamble Online for Real Money in Maine
Main Code clearly states that taking part in an unlicensed game of chance as a player isn’t considered a criminal act, which means that Maine residents and visitors can’t be fined or put in jail for playing on offshore iGaming sites regardless of their legal status. As a result, Maine residents are in a better situation than people from most US states due to the fact that the local regulations aren’t ambiguous when it comes to outlining what individual gamblers are allowed to do.
Different types of gambling sites require a slightly different approach if you want to get the most of your iGaming experience. For example, if you’re a poker player, you should pick a site that receives a lot of traffic on a daily basis, as this determines the number of players you’ll be able to play in cash games and the guaranteed tournament prize pools.
On the other hand, if you’re a casino enthusiast, you might want to focus on bonuses and the available games, as better promotions usually mean more spins and more entertainment. If you’re looking for a sportsbook, you should double-check whether the site in question covers the events and leagues that you’re interested in. You should also pay attention to prices, reduced juice promotions, and live in-play betting options.
Maine Gambling Laws
Over that last 40 years, Maine has transitioned from prohibiting gambling to regulating it. Although some forms of gambling are still illegal outside licensed facilities, if the legalization trend continues, it’s possible we will see those bans lifted in the future.
Maine is home to two casino locations:
- The Oxford Casino
- The Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway located in Bangor
Both of these casinos offer excellent selections of live dealer table games, slot machines, and electronic poker. Players that are too far away from these casinos to benefit from their offerings may instead choose to gamble at offshore casinos. Our list of recommended online casinos features excellent online blackjack, craps, and roulette options.
With Maine opening up to casinos and gambling, some Las Vegas operators have begun to push for legislative changes in hopes of opening up new locations. Although the citizens and representatives of Maine are warming up to the existing casinos due to the much-needed revenue they add to state departments, public perception of out-of-state casino chains remains intensely negative.
Maine officially recognizes four different Native-American tribes, but none of them have been permitted to build casinos.
Players may own and operate slot machines of any make and age in their home as long as they don’t generate a profit.
Maine Sportsbooks & Sports Betting
As of today, sports betting is illegal in Maine. State representative Louis Luchini says that bills on sports betting may be introduced as early as 2019, but he believes it would be a hard battle requiring a law that would “expressly legalize sports betting.” The $54.5 million of revenue brought in by Maine’s two casinos has started to intrigue governing parties and is a major selling point for the introduction of sports betting.
At the time of this writing, there were no active bills or proposals in motion that would lead to the legalization of sports betting.
eSports and fantasy gambling
Maine doesn’t differentiate between gambling on electronic sports (eSports) and traditional sports. As a result, eSports betting is also illegal in the state.
In 2017, Maine legalized paid-entry fantasy sports gambling, classifying it as a game of skill and not chance. However, players must be over the age of 18, and betting on fantasy teams of an amateur or collegiate level is still prohibited.
Players located in Maine can access popular daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
Maine has been one of the most popular horse racing and gambling states in the US since 1935 when pari-mutuel wagering was legalized. There are currently 13 races tracks spread throughout the state:
- Bangor Raceway, Bangor
- Blue Hill Fair, Blue Hill
- Cornish Fair, Cornish
- Cumberland Fair, Cumberland Ctr
- Farmington Fair, Farmington
- Fryeburg Fair, Fryeburg
- Northern Maine Fair, Presque Isle
- Oxford Fair, Oxford
- Scarborough Downs, Scarborough
- Skowhegan State Fair, Skowhegan
- Topsham Fair, Topsham
- Union Fair, Union
- Windsor Fair, Windsor
Gambling on dog racing is illegal in Maine.
Playing Poker in Maine
As long as players don’t offer poker games for more than three days every three months, hosting poker in either a home or work settings is legal. Maine also has additional rules for poker tournaments, stating that any recognized non-profit group can sponsor a tournament to make it legal. The competition must consist of fewer than 100 people and feature a maximum buy-in of $100.
Finding a live poker table can be challenging in Maine. Standalone poker operations are illegal, and the only casino that offers live poker tables is the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway. Players looking for higher stakes wagering or a more regular poker routine must seek online poker rooms.
If in-home poker games generate revenue, they are considered illegal gaming operations and become open to law enforcement.
In 1974, a state referendum legalized lotteries, and Maine created its first lottery system.
Popular multi-state lotteries available in Maine include:
- Mega Millions
- Lucky for Life
- Hot Lotto
Maine also offers a state lottery with options such as:
- Pick 3
- Pick 4
- Megabucks Plus
Winners receive 45% of the prize money, while the remaining 55% is divided up among various Maine lottery departments. Any awarded prize money must be claimed within one year of winning; otherwise, it is transferred to Maine’s general fund.
Any organization that obtains a charity gambling license from a Maine county Chief of Police may legally host Bingo games. Maine has a history of cracking down on offenders that try to host charity gaming events without a license.
Currently, the largest Bingo operation is Penobscot Bingo, a Native-American establishment located in Old Town, Maine.
Maine Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
Once you’ve picked a site that you’d like to play on you’ll probably want to complete the registration as quickly as possible. However, you have to keep in mind that your account will have to be verified in order to prevent underage gambling, which might actually take up to 24 or even 48 hours.
Fortunately, you won’t ever have to go through this procedure again, which means that you should be ready to join the action pretty much as soon as you make your first payment.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
The money that is tied to your account is at your disposal 24/7, so you’re free to place a payout request via the cashier menu whenever you deem necessary. Most requests are handled using a wire transfer and take up to 2 days to process, which means that once you’ve placed your request you’ll have to wait up to 14 days until you get a hold of your winnings.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Maine?
18 for offshore gambling sites, even though the official gambling age is set 21 for land-based casino gambling.
How do I open an account?
You need to submit your personal information via an on-site registration form. If you want to gamble for real money, you need to confirm your identity by submitting a photo or scan of your ID.
Where can I open my account from?
Most sites don’t require you to be physically present in Maine, so anywhere in the US should be fine.
From where can I access Maine online gambling sites?
Anywhere in the United States, but keep in mind that online gambling regulations differ from state to state. States that banned internet gambling include Washington and Utah.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Maine?
Section 925 of Maine Code is a great place to start.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
In most cases, you’ll have to go for a standard credit card payment. Most experts recommend brands like Visa and MasterCard for maximum reliability.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
You can choose between a bank wire transfer and a check delivered by mail.
Is my money safe?
Yes, your money is perfectly secure as long as you stick to reputable sites that aren’t run by scammers. All the sites listed here have been thoroughly checked by our experts and are 100% trustworthy.
What body regulates gambling in Maine?
Maine State Lottery and Maine State Gambling Control Board.
Sources:Maine Gambling Laws (see full text)
Maine Revised Statutes
Title 17-A: MAINE CRIMINAL CODE Part 2:
Chapter 39: UNLAWFUL GAMBLING
As used in this chapter, the following definitions apply:
1. “ADVANCE GAMBLING ACTIVITY.” A person “advances gambling activity” if, acting other than as a player or a member of the player’s family residing with a player in cases in which the gambling takes place in their residence, he engages in conduct that materially aids any form of gambling activity. Conduct of this nature includes, but is not limited to, bookmaking, conduct directed toward the creation or establishment of the particular game, contest, scheme, device or activity involved, toward the acquisition or maintenance of premises, paraphernalia, equipment or apparatus therefor, toward the solicitation or inducement of persons to participate therein, toward the actual conduct of the playing phases thereof, toward the arrangement of any of its financial or recording phases, or toward any other phase of its operation. A person also advances gambling activity if, having substantial proprietary control or other authoritative control over premises being used with his knowledge for purposes of gambling activity, he permits that activity to occur or continue, or makes no effort to prevent its occurrence or continuation.
2. “Bookmaking” means advancing gambling activity by unlawfully accepting bets from members of the public as a business, rather than in a casual or personal fashion, upon the outcomes of future contingent events.
3. CONTEST OF CHANCE. “Contest of chance” means any game, contest, scheme or device in which:
A. A person stakes or risks something of value for the opportunity to win something of value;
B. The rules of operation or play require an event the result of which is determined by chance, outside the control of the contestant or participant; and
C. Chance enters as an element that influences the outcome in a manner that can not be eliminated through the application of skill.
For the purposes of this subsection, “an event the result of which is determined by chance” includes but is not limited to a shuffle of a deck or decks of cards, a roll of a die or dice or a random drawing or generation of an object or objects that may include, but are not limited to, a card or cards, a die or dice, a number or numbers or simulations of any of these. A shuffle of a deck or decks of cards, a roll of a die or dice, a random drawing or generation of an object or objects or some other event the result of which is determined by chance that is employed to determine impartially the initial order of play in a game, contest, scheme or device does not alone make a game, contest, scheme or device a game of chance.
4. “GAMBLING.” A 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. Gambling does not include bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, including but not limited to contracts for the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, and agreements to compensate for loss caused by the happening of chance, including but not limited to contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life, health or accident insurance.
5. “Gambling 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. However, lottery tickets and other items used in the playing phases of lottery schemes are not gambling devices within this definition.
5-A. “Illegal gambling machine” means any machine, including electronic devices, however operated:
A. The internal mechanism or components of which when set in motion or activated may deliver or entitle the person playing or operating the machine to receive cash, premiums, merchandise, tickets or something of value;
B. That is used to advance gambling activity;
C. That is not a machine that a person may lawfully operate pursuant to a license that has been issued under Title 17, chapter 62 or that is operated by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations; and
D. That is not a slot machine registered pursuant to Title 8, section 1020 and owned by a slot machine distributor licensed pursuant to Title 8, section 1013.
6. “Lottery” means an unlawful gambling scheme in which:
A. The players pay or agree to pay something of value for chances, represented and differentiated by numbers or by combinations of numbers or by some other medium, one or more of which chances are to be designated the winning ones; and
B. The winning chances are to be determined by a drawing or by some other method based on an element of chance; and
C. The holders of the winning chances are to receive something of value.
7. “Mutuel” means a form of lottery in which the winning chances or plays are not determined upon the basis of a drawing or other act on the part of persons conducting or connected with the scheme, but upon the basis of the outcome or outcomes of a future contingent event or events otherwise unrelated to the particular scheme.
8. “Player” means a person who engages in social gambling solely as a contestant or bettor on equal terms with the other participants therein without receiving or becoming entitled to receive something of value or any profit therefrom other than his personal gambling winnings. “Social gambling” is gambling, or a contest of chance, in which the only participants are players and from which no person or organization receives or becomes entitled to receive something of value or any profit whatsoever, directly or indirectly, other than as a player, from any source, fee, remuneration connected with said gambling, or such activity as arrangements or facilitation of the game, or permitting the use of premises, or selling or supplying for profit refreshments, food, drink service or entertainment to participants, players or spectators. A person who engages in “bookmaking” as defined in subsection 2 is not a “player.”
9. “PROFIT FROM GAMBLING ACTIVITY.” A person “profits from gambling activity” if, other than as a player, he accepts or receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person whereby he participates or is to participate in the proceeds of gambling activity.
10. “Something of value” means any money or property, any token, object or article exchangeable for money or property, or any form of credit or promise directly or indirectly contemplating transfer of money or property, or of any interest therein, or involving extension of a service, entertainment or a privilege of playing at a game or scheme without charge.
11. “Unlawful” means not expressly authorized by statute. An activity not expressly authorized by statute does not cease to be unlawful solely because it is authorized under federal law or the laws of another state or jurisdiction.
954. Unlawful gambling
1. Any person is guilty of unlawful gambling if that person intentionally or knowingly advances or profits from unlawful gambling activity.
1-A. A person is guilty of unlawful gambling if the person is under 21 years of age and plays a slot machine as defined in Title 8, section 1001, subsection 39.
2. Unlawful gambling is a Class D crime.
3. A person convicted of a violation under this section must forfeit to the State all income associated with that violation.