Sports Betting Coming Soon to Missoula – Online Gambling to Follow?

Towards the end of this year, Montana is expected to legalize sports betting. Gamblers residing in this state that don’t want to bet online or through a mobile app will not have to go far as there will be 1400 businesses across the state to offer sports betting services.

The Montana Lottery and Sports Wagering Commission released the proposed rules changes towards the end of September and on Monday, October, 28 held a public forum in the state capital of Helena for the public to share their views on the issue.  In May, Montana legalized sports betting through its Lottery, with the aim of going live by football season. However, that goal has been pushed until later this year or next year. The proposed regulations, which indicate who can offer and take part in sports betting, as well as listing licensing processes, is the first step towards the inauguration.

The Lottery and sports wagering commission estimates that there are 1,400 potential dealers who can apply for the sports wagering licenses. The licenses are available to any lottery vendor with a license from the Lottery, have a gambling operator’s license and hold an alcohol and beverage license.

Montana’s sports betting is expected to vary from that of other states in that there will be no true physical locations for sports gambling. Rather than having a sportsbook at any location, the licensed vendors will be provided with kiosks. Also, any bettors wishing to wager using mobile devices can do so as long as they are within the range of a kiosk and can sign up remotely.

According to the proposed rules, the gamblers will be able to control their accounts using the Lottery app. They can also claim winnings of up to $600 from the sales agents. Any winnings exceeding this amount must be claimed directly through the Lottery, either in person or by mail.

The vendors will get a 6% commission on the amount of each sold ticket for sports betting. This amount is higher by one percent than lottery ticket sales.

In the proposed rules, there is a provision for self-limiting and self-exclusion. This includes giving the gamblers the option to limit their bets based on time or the amount spent or deposited.

The vendors are also expected to pay a $50 application fee for the sports betting license. This is a small amount compared to that of other states. Additionally, the proposed rules allow for businesses that want to change locations to move with the sports betting license as long as they meet the set requirements.

Initially, the Montana Legislature had brought forward three proposals—the Lottery bill, Pari-mutuel sports betting bill, and a commercial sports betting bill. Both the commercial and Lottery bills made it to the desk of Governor Steve Bullock, but he chose to sign only the Lottery Bill. Supporting his decision, the governor said that for the market to be successful, Montana needs to join the sports wagering market conventionally by adopting only one of the two models. If after two years the market can accommodate more entrants, then the legislature will consider whether a second model is needed.

Could Online Betting be Next?

The Montana legislature has approved controlled legal betting in the state. Some legalized games include Keno, Bingo, Poker, and video line gambling machines. The maximum wager allowed is $2 and the maximum payout is $800. Other legal live games include raffles, bingo, poker, keno, shake-a-day, and panguingue.

In addition to those, fantasy sports leagues; sports tab and sports pool games are legal. These are non-banking games where the gamers wager against and pay each other rather than wagering against and getting paid by the house.

It is not quite clear whether Montana would be open to the possibility of online casinos like in Canada. But, with the controlled legal betting allowed on sports and other live games, we can say that there is much for the gamblers. The state does not allow any form of online gambling but this does not stop its citizens from gambling at offshore online casinos.