No Internet Lottery Plans In Maine

State concerned that Internet extension could endanger retail ticket sellers

The state of Maine is obviously more conservative than other states when it comes to Internet gambling even though the DoJ's changed its position regarding the Wire Act. Many other states expressed their interest in online gambling but the Maine Lottery said they have no immediate plans to implement it, with the main concern being the impact it may have on existing retail ticket sellers.

As the director of the lottery, Tim Poulin, said: 'I think it's fair to say that we have no immediate plans here at the Lottery to offer any Internet-based lottery sales. Moving to Internet-based sales would have a major impact on the retail partners of the Lottery.'

Poulin explained that Maine now sells both instant lottery tickets and online games through retailers at 1,300 locations across the state, and the DoJ ruling could change the way the state lottery operates by allowing sales directly through a website. He also said they have to look into a question whether the DoJ decision limits online gambling to in-state.

The Maine Gambling Control Board executive, Pat Fleming, said he will be reviewing the DoJ decision and its implications for casino gambling in case the board oversees them.

State Senator Nichi Farnham, the co-chair of the state Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee which has jurisdiction over gambling issues, besides other gambling issues on panel, stated that Internet gambling will certainly be added to the list.

'We are always playing catch-up on these issues. I would like to get ahead of this one, to get out in front,' she said.

Farnham mentioned Nevada regulators who are already getting ready for online gambling by adopting rules to regulate in-state online gambling, and with other states also looking at the issue, it is important that Maine considers how it wants to react to the new opportunity.

'We have had to react to citizen initiated gaming laws in the past. This is giving us the motivation now to get something in place so that when, or if, this comes to Maine we have regulations in front of us.'

Rep. Mike Carey, said on the panel he is pleased Farnham wants the committee to quickly address the issue, because online gambling has huge implications for the state.

'It has implications potentially for state revenues, but also for existing Lottery revenues and revenues those nonprofits across the state count on from poker and other games of chance. We are going to have to jump on this and try to find out as much as we can in a short time,' Carey said

He added that the state will need to consider what other states do in setting Maine's policy to avoid the state facing loss of state revenues at a time when every dollar is needed.

Farnham promised to discuss with committee members when to schedule a meeting to address the online gambling issue when, later this week, the Legislature reconvenes, and hopes that both Poulin and Fleming will be asked to attend.

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