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Montana Sports Betting

Editor’s note: As of Jan. 18, 2021

When it comes to sports betting in Montana, it is Go, Go, Go.

Gov. Bullock had two lottery bills land on his desk – one that had the state lottery operating betting and another that would have allowed private businesses to run sportsbooks regulated by the state Department of Justice.

Choosing the more “straightforward” approach, the governor’s signature also granted a multi-million contact to lottery provider Intralot, bypassing procurement procedures. That method, also adopted by Washington, D.C., has proven to be controversial.

Also causing a dust-up and a threatened lawsuit is the fact that the lottery is tying betting licenses to liquor licenses, meaning that most of the venues getting betting terminals will be bars or taverns already licensed by the Montana Lottery. The Tavern Association lobbied for this system.

Investment group Arete is threatening to sue if the Lottery doesn’t eliminate the liquor license requirement. They charge that requirement wasn’t part of the original betting proposal.

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Up to 1,400 locations are expected to be licensed to take bets at kiosks. That is one kiosk for every 764 Montana residents.

In another step forward, the Montana Lottery is approved betting rules and regulations on Nov. 21, 2019. Wagers will be allowed on both amateur and professional sports and are expected to generate $65 million in revenue and nearly $4 million in taxes for state coffers.

Is sports betting currently legal in the state?

Yes. Gov. Steve Bullock signed the bill into law on May 6, 2019.

When did Montana start accepting bets?

March, 2020

What is the legal age to bet on sports in Montana?

Unlike most other states, you only have to be 18 years old to bet in Montana.

What restrictions are there on sports betting in Montana … is online wagering allowed?

The current law doesn’t allow for traditional mobile betting but does allow that bettors standing within the range of lottery terminals will be able to bet from their phones or tablets.

What about horse racing?

Despite mobile and online betting in its infancy for sports betting, betting on a horse has been available for some time with Bet America, TVG, Twinspires, and AM Wager all in operation.

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