03/16/2012 : MAINE LAWMAKERS CONSIDER INTERNET LOTTERY SALES
Bill LD1880 could see lottery sales from September 2013
Lawmakers in the state of Maine will soon consider a bill legalising the sale of state lottery tickets online, which supporters hope will deliver increased revenues and discourage in-state buyers from purchasing tickets from other states.
LD 1880 is scheduled for a public hearing next Monday before the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, and makes provision for internet ticket sales no sooner than September next year, with the state’s director of alcoholic beverages and lottery operations tasked with preparing a proposal on how to set up a system in the period between the bill's approval and September 2013.
Like other US states, Maine has been encouraged by the admission by the Department of Justice late last year that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting, a policy switch that has triggered a slew of internet proposals from state lotteries.
One Maine senator and two House representatives returned from an i-gaming conference in Las Vegas earlier this year convinced that online gambling, including internet poker and the sale of lottery tickets online, is poised to explode.
One of them, Sen. Debra Plowman, has subsequently sponsored LD 1880, which she expects will pass this session, setting Maine on a course for the future in this sector.
The expansion of gambling in Maine is a sensitive topic; previous (land casino) licenses have been handled conservatively through state-wide votes and only two have made it through the system, a casino in Bangor, and another still under construction in Oxford.
Rep. Michael Carey, the lead Democrat on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, told local media that LD 1880 is a precursor to more comprehensive Internet-related legalization down the road.
“This is an area of the law and an industry that is changing rapidly,” he said. “We want to make sure Maine is not left behind.”