Montana is one of the most breathtaking states in the country. With huge mountain ranges and wide open spaces, you can sometimes feel like you are in a completely different country. However, with the popularity of their college sports teams and the real cowboy image of the state, you are quickly reminded that this state is still part of the Union. Let’s have a look at the gambling laws in Montana and if they reflect some of their neighboring states.
Sports Betting in Montana
As the calendar year turned to 2019, there was a lot of excitement building about the states that would pass sports betting legislation in light of the PASPA repeal. With so much speculation as to what states would step up first during the year, it came as a great surprise to find Montana at the front of the pack.
On May 3rd, 2019, Montana passed sports betting legislation, making it the 9th U.S. state to make gambling on sports legal. There were two bills presented to the legislature, and the one that was chosen was H 725, a measure that would give the Montana Lottery the single sports betting license.
Governor Steve Bullock, in making his case for choosing this bill over one that would have created a more competitive marketplace, said, “For the market to succeed, Montana needs to enter the sports wagering market conservatively-adopting only one of the two models now. If in two years, the market can tolerate more entrants, then I fully expect the legislature will revisit whether a second model is prudent for our state.”
Why two years? Well, the Montana legislature only meets in odd years.
As of November 2019 sportsbooks had yet to launch in Montana, but it seems as though a launch is imminent. The regulations dictate that there will not be any actual sportsbook locations in the traditional sense. Rather, any lottery vendor will be able to apply for a license (there are currently 1,400 in the state), and those who are granted a license will be able to offer sports betting via a kiosk.
Online Sports Betting
Along with the retail sports betting regulations (kiosks at lottery retailers) comes the ability to bet from a mobile device in Montana, but in a minimal way. According to the state regulations as they were presented, players will only be able to bet from a device within range of the actual kiosks. This is a very conservative approach to mobile betting, and while it is expected that this will expand to allow players to gambler from outside facilities with kiosks, no changes are likely to be approved before the 2021 session of government.
Horse Betting in Montana
Montana is a state that seems to have more horse than people. While that is a bit of an exaggeration, the horse culture is very strong in the state, and this spreads to betting on the horses as well. Live racing fans will be a bit disappointed – there are only a handful of live race days in the year in Montana. However, there are several off-track betting facilities spread across the state, and each offers simulcasts from tracks all over North America, and pari-mutuel betting on all the tracks that are being broadcast.
Online Horse Betting
Montana residents don’t need to go to an off-track facility to make their horse bets – thanks to some sites that are based outside the borders of Montana, betting can take place online. There are companies like Twinspires or DRFBets (owned by the Daily Racing Form) that are licensed in Oregon but are allowed to accept players from many other states. This seems to be a bit of a loophole but as long as Montana residents can take advantage, then who cares!
Casino Gambling in Montana
With a whole lot of land, not a lot of people and not much else to do, there is a real need for forms of entertainment in Montana, and casino gambling seems to have filled that need. The state has actually been quite liberal when it comes to the different games that are considered legal. First, there is a compact between the state and multiple Native American tribes, allowing these tribes to have Class II casinos on their lands. These casinos are full-blown casinos with table games and slot machines. Also, the state has opted to allow Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) which are similar in nature to slot machines. These, however, classified as a lottery game and therefore can be hosted in bars and taverns. To date, there are about 3,000 of these machines spread out across the state. Finally, the state has allowed bingo halls and Keno to be legal in the state as well.
Online Casinos in Montana
One would assume now that sports betting legislation has been passed, it won’t be too long before other forms of online gambling will also bee allowed in the state. However, with the legislature not set to meet again until 2021, it is unlikely we will see anything change on that front before then. However, if y9ou really need to get in some online slots and table games, there are still offshore sites that offer the full suite of casino games to residents of Montana. We suggest you play at your own risk at these sites.
Now, you may wonder what goes into our ratings and recommendations for online casinos, so let’s fill in the blanks. First and foremost, we look for the credibility of a site. If a site doesn’t seem to have a lot of complaints in player forums, that is a great start. Then we look at the software being used, and whether there is a full suite of games available for players. From there we test the mobile version of the casino for those players that like to play on the go. Finally, we look at the promotions and VIP programs to find the sites that help you get the most out of your deposits. After reviewing a few more details, our experts are able to confidently recommend the online casinos you see on this list.
Lottery in Montana
It should come as no surprise that lottery games are very popular in Montana. You already know that VLTs are a big part of the action, as they are in hundreds of locations in the state, The Montana Lottery was established in 1987 and has raised millions of dollars for funding of education programs in the state. Players in Montana can play daily draw games open to state residents, along with the big jackpot games like Powerball. There is also a series of lottery games based on football and dozens of active scratch ticket possibilities for Montanans to choose from.
Montana Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Montana?
Sports betting legislation passed in May of 2019, so technically betting on sports is legal in Montana. However, legal sports betting needs to take place at an authorized lottery vendor, and as of November 2019, there have been no licenses awarded in the state. For the time being, while we do not endorse this behavior, residents do still have the option of playing at an offshore sportsbook.
When will sports betting be legal in Montana?
The timeline for a sports betting launch in Montana is still unclear, as the date continues to shift. As of November 2019 the plan was to have lottery retailers accepting sports wagers before the end of the year. We’ll update this page as soon as the state comes on board.
Will I be able to make bets from my phone in Montana?
As per the current regulations, you will be able to make sports bets from your mobile devices in Montana only from within the confines of any location with a sports betting kiosk. At this time, should you try to make a wager from your residence or anywhere that doesn’t offer the kiosk wagering option, you will not be able to place a sports bet from that device.