Currency: United States Dollar ($)
Time Zone: UTC-5
State Name Abbreviation: ME
Casinos with Poker
- Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor
Maine, a state on the East Coast of the United States that borders Canada, does have legal land based gambling. However, it’s very limited by law.
In fact, only two commercial casinos are allowed to operate in the entire state – one in the city of Oxford, and one in the city of Bangor. The former one was the first to open in June 2012.
While federal laws do allow Native Americans to operate gambling houses on their reservations, in Maine, alas, they’re only allowed to host bingo games. Horse race tracks are also legal, both on tribal and non-tribal land. Furthermore, a state referendum held in 2003 allowed for the installment of slot machines at these racetracks. The Maine State Lottery was launched in 1974.
However, the poker selection in The Pine Tree State is very scarce. Of their two casinos only one of them, the one in Bangor, has a running poker room. For more action, players can travel to closeby New York State or Massachusetts with plenty of legal card rooms.
Famous Maine Poker Players
Currently, Matt Woodward from Waterboro, ME sits on top of the Maine all time money list on Hendon with $2.477 million in live tournament earnings.
In April 2009, he came in second in the €10,600 No Limit Hold’em event at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo for €1.3 million (which equaled $1.709 million at the time). He lost the heads-up battle for the title to Pieter de Korver from the Netherlands. This is by far Woorward’s biggest live tournament score to date. His second biggest cash is $76,396 for a victory in a MXN60,000 (~$3,000) WSOP Circuit event down in Mexico.
Second on that list is Leonard Cortellino from Lewiston, ME with $1.574 million in live tournament earnings. His biggest live cash is $377,175, which he got for taking down a $5,200 NLHE event at the World Poker Finals in Mashantucket, CT in November 2005.
– Playing Live Poker in Maine –
Live Poker Legislation in Maine
Title 17-A, Chapter 39 is titled “Unlawful Gambling” in Maine’s criminal code. It prescribes all the prohibited gambling activities and their possible punishments. According to the statute, “Any person is guilty of unlawful gambling if that person intentionally or knowingly advances or profits from unlawful gambling activity“. It is a Class D crime, and the person convicted of it “must forfeit to the State all income associated with that violation”.
However, if the profits from an unlawful gambling operation exceed a certain amount ($1,000 within 24 hours, except for illegal bookies where 5 bets totaling $500 within 24 hours is the threshold) the person is guilty of so-called “aggravated unlawful gambling”.
Thankfully, the Maine Revised Statutes give quite a few exceptions for lawful gambling opportunities in the state.
Title 17-A also allows for charitable gaming. In Title 8, Chapter 11 harness racing is covered, chapter 12 covers greyhound racing; while chapter 31 establishes the state’s gambling authority, the Maine Gambling Control Board. This state government body is responsible for licencing and regulating the two casinos in Maine, the lottery, as well as the bingo halls on Indian lands.
Live Poker Venues in Maine
As we wrote in our intro, unfortunately, only one of the two casinos in Maine has a poker room. It’s the Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, ME.
They have four poker tables in their cardroom. According to their website, “Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and 7-Card Stud are currently available based on player demand and availability.” For more information, you can contact the poker room at the 207-974-3583 phone number.
For cash players, they run bad beat, Royal Flush, and high hand jackpots, as well as a special discount on your room if you play cash for at least 6 hours.
As for tournaments, they run a $100 re-entry No Limit Hold’em event every Saturday. Every Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, you can play the “Tournament of Champions” in this poker room. It’s a $300 buy-in NLHE event that also has $80 satellites feeding players into it.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Maine –
Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor
Online Poker in Maine
Online fantasy sports are the only games of chance that can be legally played over the internet in the state of Maine. The Maine Gambling Control Board gives a list of officially approved fantasy sports operators on their website.
Online poker, however, is not yet regulated. There is no specific law allowing for it in the state statutes, which makes it illegal by default due to federal laws such as the 1961 Wire Act or the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
So, for now, Maine poker players can only play on real money poker apps that use the sweepstakes model, such as Global Poker and PokerBROS; or on unregulated offshore poker sites, such as Americas Cardroom.