The Department of Public Safety announced on Tuesday, Oct. 31, that on Friday, Nov. 3, at 9 a.m., online sports gambling would become officially legal. While the Maine legislature legalized the law legalizing online sports betting in May 2022, it only now became active.
Along with making it legal, the indigenous tribes, excluded from gambling in Maine, can now apply for a license to run online sports betting. DraftKings, one of the most popular sports betting platforms, has announced plans to launch an online sportsbook through a deal made with the Passamaquoddy Tribe. Along with DraftKings, Caesars Sportsbook joins them as the only other sports betting website in the state as of now.
Before the recent law, like many states where online sports betting is illegal, the only place you could place bets on sports was at casinos. In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), stating that “sports gambling is a national problem. The harms it inflicts are felt beyond the borders of those states that sanction it. The moral erosion it produces cannot be limited geographically. Once a state legalizes sports gambling, it will be extremely difficult for other states to resist the lure.”
PASPA was overturned in 2018, with the basis being that it violates states’ rights in regulating sports betting.
While it may be becoming more accepted for average Americans to bet on sports, athletes are a completely different story. Sports betting has been a well-known controversy in professional sports. While in a league like the NFL, where sports betting is allowed on non-NFL events, athletes have been known to bet on sports, resulting in controversial suspensions.
Just last year, Jacksonville Jaguars star wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games. He bet on his team, the Atlanta Falcons, after stepping away from the team for personal reasons. Even though he bet just $1,500 on NFL and NBA games, the suspension caused him to forfeit the $11.1 million he was set to make in 2022.
This season, three more players were suspended, those being Indianapolis Colts’ cornerback Isaiah Rodgers, outside linebacker Rashod Berry, and free agent Demetrius Taylor, who received the same suspension as Ridley for betting on NFL games. Along with these players, Jameson Williams, Stanley Berryhill, Quintez Cephus, and C. J. Moore were suspended, with Williams and Berryhill receiving six games. However, both were reduced to four games while Cephus and Moore received an indefinite suspension.
Football is not the only sport to face these issues, as baseball has dealt with this before in the case of Pete Rose. In 1989, the Dowd Report was released, stating that Rose allegedly bet on baseball, football and horse racing. In these accusations, he was accused of betting on the team he was managing at the time, the Cincinnati Reds. Rose accepted a lifetime ban, though he has famously appealed it despite continued rejections Perhaps the most notable case of betting controversy in baseball runs back to 1919, when eight players on the Chicago White Sox roster were banned for betting on the World Series in which they played.
In hockey, the NHL suspended Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto for 41 games. However, the NHL released a statement saying, “the league’s investigation found no evidence that Pinto made any wagers on NHL games.”
With online sports betting becoming more prominent in states now, it will be interesting to see the ramifications of it in professional sports, as different leagues have different standards and rules, but whether those will change in the future is yet to be determined.