Maine is a US state in the country’s New England region. Distinctively, it sits at the northernmost tip of the United States and shares its only American border with New Hampshire to the west. The Atlantic Ocean constitutes its south eastern boundary whilst the Canadian Provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick surround it to the northwest and northeast respectively.
Maine was admitted into the Union in 1820 as the 23rd state to ratify the constitution. Today its capital is Augusta but its most populous and influential city is Portland (not to be confused with the city of the same name in Oregon).
Maine has a population just shy of 1,350,000 people, making it the 42nd most populated state in the United States. Demographically, it is considered the only “rural” state in the country, due to the fact that more than 62% of the state’s population lives outside of urban centers. It is also among the least diverse in the nation, with African Americans, Asians and Native Americans accounting for just 1.2%, 1.1%, and 0.6% respectively. On the other side of the spectrum, the state has the highest proportions of French Americans in the US. Fluent French is spoken by more than 5% of its population, with most of them being of Canadian origin.
Maine is popular geographically for its rough, undulating coastline, mountains, vast inland forests, and idyllic waterways.
Perhaps surprisingly, Maine’s mostly rural population has played a large part in the current existence of poker and gambling in the Pine Tree State. In the following paragraphs, we are going to discuss just how.
Early History of Gambling and Poker in Maine
As soon as Maine joined the newly-formed union in 1820, all forms of gambling and games of chance were promptly outlawed in the state. In the decades leading up to the 20th century, horseracing gradually gained legal status. In the 1950s, there were already venues like Scarborough Downs and Hollywood Racetrack where people placed pari-mutuel wagers on horse races.
In a bid to push towards a more expanded gaming industry, Maine, in 1974, established a state-run lottery (as was the rave at the time in neighboring states). This lottery, despite being highly regulated and considering the low population in the state, garnered considerable popularity in the region. It now incorporates inter-state games with other states in the New England region.
With the legalization and establishment of a regulatory framework, bingo and other raffle-style games also began to rise to the mainstream in the state. Generally, the state’s legislature uses the umbrella word “beano” to refer to games in this category. They fall under the charitable gambling laws and, as such, the profits generated therein have to go towards certain state-designated charitable organizations and non-profits. Further, these beano games are licensed individually and aside from the usual venues, can also be played at designated tribal bingo casinos.
Modern History of Poker and Gambling in Maine
As you can already tell from the last few paragraphs, gambling moved at a considerably slower pace in the 20th century than it is moving in the 21st century. Maine enjoyed wide expansions to its gaming laws in the turn of the millennium and this has now made it one of the most liberal states in the US when it comes to legal, regulated gambling.
In fact, most of the game-changing (no pun intended) laws that brought real casino-style gambling to Maine were enacted in the 2010s and beyond. In 2010, voters in the state cast a referendum that approved the building and maintenance of two full-size land-based casinos in the state. One of those slots was taken up by the still-running Oxford County Casino. The second, the Hollywood Casino Hotel, also hosts a full-scale gambling establishment.
When it comes to live, real-cash poker gambling, during the course of half a decade Maine has gone from nonexistent to flourishing. Both of the aforementioned casinos offer 24-hour keno, bingo, machine games, and of course, poker. These establishments aren’t slouching by any measure too as, for example, Oxford Casino recently saw an expansion that took its total square footage tally to over 30,000.
The bountiful revenue being generated by the newly-legalized, regulated gambling activities, according to industry watchers, is swaying lawmakers towards granting the required licenses to establish even more land-based commercial casinos in other parts of the state.
If you prefer playing poker online, that is also possible in Maine. The laws, much like in other neighboring states, do not state explicitly what means of online gambling are not permitted by law – if any. This means that there is little to no risk with placing real-money wagers on poker games played through computers and mobile devices in the state.
The Best Websites to Check Out
There are a wide variety of gambling websites and mobile platforms you can access if you live in Maine. Pretty much all of these sites offer the various styles of poker you’re used to – like Texas Hold’em, stud poker, video poker, and even full-scale online poker tournaments. The following online casinos are amongst the top rated for Maine players:
- BlackChip Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
- Intertops Poker
- Ignition Poker
For all the applause it has earned for expanding other forms of gambling in such a short time, Maine has a comparatively backward view on sports betting. The activity is currently banned in the state. Horseracing remains the only semblance of sports betting that is legal in Maine and with the current climate, it might be a while before we see any movement on this front.
Despite having only two proper land-based casinos, Maine is surprisingly welcoming to gambling. The casinos offer a Las Vegas-like experience with a similarly wide selection of table games for players to enjoy. If the planned legislature allowing the establishment of two new tribal casinos moves forward, Maine will take even another step towards being an even more attractive gambling destination.