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Legal Sports Betting in Montana

Daniel Smyth
Montana sports betting

Montant became the first state to legalize sports betting in 2019 and the Treasure State has since opened the door to retail and online sportsbooks. Montana’s legislators handed over the control of the betting industry to the state lottery.

Where can you bet on Sports in Montana?

Sports betting in Montana is available through The Montana State Lottery and you can place bets at venues that are authorized by the local lottery, such as bars and taverns. You can also bet via websites powered by the Montana Lottery, although only within the premises of licensed establishments.

The good news is that sports bettors can make single and multiway bets on thousands of events, safe in the knowledge that everything is being overseen by an official state entity.

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Betting Kiosks rolling out across the state

The Lottery has begun the rollout of sports betting kiosks to retailers all across the state, and those kiosks are now live. The rollout will come in waves due to the training process that is necessary to run these machines.

Montana Lottery

Montana Sports Betting Timeline

The downfall of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) gave rise to sweeping changes across the U.S. In the months following the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling, seven states implemented their own sports betting laws. With the winds of change blowing, New Mexico’s tribal entities joined the party before a period of calm.

How did legal sports betting in Montana become a reality? Even though it was later to the party than the likes of New Jersey and Nevada, Montana’s entry to the US sports betting sector didn’t take long.

2018: Montana Sports Betting Bills Drafted

In the final month of 2018, three draft requests were processed. Seeing the success other states were having, Montana’s political figures were eager to explore the potential of state-sanctioned sports betting. In December, HB725, HB475, and SB330 were born.

2019: Montana Sportsbooks Become a Reality

With requests submitted in late 2018, the aforementioned bills were reviewed in February 2019 before initial drafts were written up.

March 2019

By March, the bills had been moved around their respective chambers for discussions and edits. By the end of the month, they’d been formally submitted for discussion and voting.

April 2019

In April, the bills were voted on across the Montana House and Senate. Amendments were made before subsequent votes took place. While S330 and HB725 made it through, HB475 died. This bill would have made pari-mutuel betting a part of the newly regulated landscape. However, at this stage, only single and multiway wagers are possible.

May 2019

Eventually, in May 2019, Montana sports betting became legal. However, only HB725 was signed into law by Governor Steve Bullock. In reviewing the two options, Bullock determined that the market wasn’t ready for SB330. Had he signed that bill, private operators would have been authorized to offer sports wagering in Montana.

However, in his mind, HB725 was the better option at this stage. Under the terms of this legislation, the Montana Lottery will have somewhat of a monopoly over the industry. In practice, this means only venues that are licensed by the lottery will be able to offer legal sports betting.

Those venues will only be able to use the odds provided by the lottery’s gaming provider, Intralot. Looking forward, this is likely to change in the future. For now, the Montana Lottery is Montana’s only licensed sports betting provider.

Montana Sports Betting FAQ

What is the legal sports betting age in Montana?

To bet on sports at Montana’s best sportsbooks, you have to at least 18-years-old.

What is the Montana sports betting tax rate?

The finer points of Montana’s sports betting tax are still being determined. However, SB330 proposed a rate of 8.5% on private operators. It’s likely the Montana Lottery will pay a higher levy, as that has been the case in other states.

Can I bet on sports online in Montana?

Yes, but there will be some restrictions. Firstly, you’ll only be able to bet on sports via sites/apps powered by the Montana Lottery. Secondly, the mobile betting apps will only work inside approved venues. This means you won’t be able to bet on sports at home just yet.

When can I bet on Sports in Montana?

Sports betting in Montana technically launched on March 9, 2020. That was the day that sports betting kiosks were set up in hundreds of bars and taverns all across the state. However, these kiosks are active and are still being sent to more locations as time goes by. The training involved with using the terminals is the only thing that may delay kiosks coming to a location near you.