Sports betting is now legal in Montana with the recent signing of H 725 by Governor Steve Bullock. However, a bill similar to H 725, S 330, didn’t make the cut. How come?
Senate Bill 330 Vetoed
Senate Bill 330 was vetoed at the last minute by Bullock, due to one key issue. S 330 would have allowed for private operators to conduct sports betting in the state of Montana, something that Bullock didn’t see fit.
Instead, Bullock opted to sign H 725 which calls for the state lottery to oversee the sports betting operations within the state. The bill does allow for online and mobile wagering as well as place bets at physical locations.
Although Bullock vetoed S 330, he hasn’t completely ruled it out. Bullock says that if the state lottery can generate enough revenue and show the success that the state is looking for, then there could be opportunities down the road for other operators. He didn’t believe that the current market was ready for a bill like S 330.
Working with what Montana has now in terms of legislation, the state must solidify key details before they can begin with the licensing process, such as a tax rate. Although those details, as well as others, are still waiting to be ironed out, it is assumed the tax rate will be similar to what S 330 proposed, 8.5 percent.
Residents 18 and Older Can Bet in Montana
Montana is providing one interesting detail in their sports betting, they are allowing residents at the age of 18 to place bets. Like some parts of Canada with 18 being the legal drinking age, you can expect the state of Montana to see a lot of out-of-state gamblers from the age of 18-20 patronize the states gambling establishments.
Not just bordering states like Colorado, Idaho and the Dakota’s, but legal teenagers and twenty-year-olds sports betting fanatics from across the country may flock to Montana to place wagers. While we can’t expect Montana to compete with Las Vegas even in the slightest sense, however, the state could become sort of the “underage” version of Vegas for those college-aged kids looking to take a “gambling” vacation.
How Does Lottery Play into This for Montana?
With the Montana State Lottery overseeing the sports betting operations in the state, bettors can feel safe knowing that a historically black market activity such as sports betting will be safely operated by an official state entity.
With the Lottery being the only legal operator in the state, bettors will be able to place bets at venues where the lottery operates, as well as online sites and apps powered by the Montana State Lottery. However mobile betting apps will only work inside approved venues. So bettors won’t be able to place bets legally from the comfort of their own homes, at least not yet.
With Idaho and Wyoming seemingly nowhere close to legalizing sports betting, Montana may have a big opportunity to draw in out of state bettors and increase revenue. Allowing 18-year-olds to wager as well will certainly draw in even more revenue.
The Mid-West is open for the taking, the nearest states to Montana with legal sports betting are Nevada and New Mexico to the south and all the way out east to West Virginia. Montana has a great opportunity to take a lot of revenue from a number of states across the country.