Maine Legal Poker Sites

Maine StateMaine is a quiet State when it comes to gambling. Until 2010, only lottery, harness horse-racing and bingo games were available to residents. More recently, two State casinos have opened, which allow both slots and table games – including poker. Home games are legal here, though internet poker is assumed to be covered by this States’ broad definition of ‘games of chance’.

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You’ll find a comprehensive guide to poker games in Maine below – divided up into sections covering the different formats. First of all, opportunities to play live are covered, focusing on the 2 new casinos. Next you will find information on the circumstances which make home games possible in ME. After that some words on playing poker online – followed by some detail from the Maine Statute books. At the end of the page you’ll find a summary of the dos and don’ts of playing poker in the Pine Tree State.

Live Poker Games In Maine

Until 2010 there were no casinos in Maine, with only the ‘Racinos’ offering any form of gambling with their horse-racing a limited types of slots. All that has changed, with the liberalization of their casino laws and construction of a new casino underway.

Maine residents can now play at the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway, where regular lower buy-in No-Limit Holdem games and daily tournaments can be found. The newly licensed Oxford Casino is currently undergoing a large expansion of their casino floor area and is expected to add poker games once this is completed.

Crossing State borders does not increase the opportunities for Maine residents too much. Vermont is dry for gambling in general, New Hampshire is early in the process of introducing legislation and further and Massachusetts only now building casinos. The closest options would be the resort casinos of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

Are Home Games Legal In Maine?

You can enjoy a social poker game without fear of a bust in Maine. The laws in this State are aimed at those who profit from gambling games. As things stand, as long as no individual is making a profit from the games via rake or entry fees – then no laws are being broken. Charity poker tournament events are also held in this State, again the key factor is that nobody profits from the games.

Online Poker Games In Maine

Like in many States there is no explicit legal ban on playing online poker games. Instead the assumption here is that the wide ranging ban on all ‘games of chance’ also covers online gambling activity. The ‘poker is a skill game’ argument will not work here, since they have defined shuffling of a deck of cards as being sufficient for the chance to be invoked.

There is a contradiction here. When looking at home games, the players are not criminalized – as they are not the people profiting from running the game. Online the individual is also not profiting from running the game. Whether this line of defense is sound would need the input of an experienced lawyer. At the time of writing this has never been legally tested. Meanwhile, thousands of Maine residents regularly enjoy the online poker games offered by offshore poker sites.

There is no reason Maine should not one day regulate online poker games. Other New England States Delaware and New Jersey already have regulated games – and once these succeed in terms of revenue for State coffers many others (including Maine) may well follow suit.

What Do The Maine Gambling Statutes Say?

There are two main parts of the Maine Statute books which cover poker games. The first of these is the main definition of gambling and the second one clarifies what counts as a game of chance and what does not.

Here is the definition of gambling – From Chapter 39, section 952 of the Statutes:

A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence…

Here is the definition of games of chance from the same section:

…a shuffle of a deck or decks of cards, a roll of a die or dice or a random drawing or generation of an object or objects that may include, but are not limited to, a card or cards, a die or dice, a number or numbers or simulations of any of these

Maine does not have a history of high-profile gambling busts or crack-downs. You should keep in mind that their definitions are deliberately wide enough to include poker games which are not explicitly licensed of played socially with nobody making a profit from running the game.

Maine Poker – Summing It Up

Things are progressing in this State, and there are signs that opportunities to gamble may increase further with a 2014 bill being discussed to license 2 more casinos on Tribal lands. Maine residents are already looking forward to the Oxford Casino expansion being completed – as well as any future legislation to regulate internet poker games.

In the meantime there are a number of offshore poker sites who welcome residents from Maine and offer a wide range of cash and tournament poker games at many different buy-ins.