Will Montana Join the Regulated Online Gambling Wave?

Online gambling rules and regulations can be very confusing for Americans, but the picture in Montana is relatively straightforward compared to a lot of other states.

Online gambling is still not permitted in Montana despite the fact other types of betting are permitted here – Montana gambling rules are quite relaxed compared to other places.

The impact of COVID-19 on the state budget could be about to prompt a rethink, however, with the legalization of online gambling potentially raising a large amount for Montana’s coffers.

Is Montana about to join the regulated online gambling wave? Let’s take a look.

Montana’s betting rules and regulations – the state of play

Legal sports betting in Montana was not given the green light until relatively recently, but the coronavirus crisis has had a big impact on its success so far during 2020.

With a lot of sports postponed or canceled entirely as a result of the pandemic, it left people living in Montana with little to bet on anyway – online or offline.

The return of the NFL has been a boost, though, but internet gambling is still illegal in Montana even after a number of states moved to make it legal to gamble online, which has not been permitted in Montana since a change to the law in 2005.

State law in Montana means that any businesses that want to be able to give people the chance to gamble also have to secure a liquor license before applying for a sports wagering license.

In practice, this means most gambling in Montana is done at bars, restaurants and casinos, which is the same as in most other states in America where gambling is legal.

There are a number of tribal casinos operating in Montana while around 300 or so licensed venues have video lottery terminals and video poker, with no more than 20 machines permitted in one particular venue in the state.

How much gambling takes place in Montana?

Despite the impact of the shutdown, Sports Bet Montana is reported to have seen more than $5 million bet legally on sports this year, with the July return of Major League Baseball cited as a key factor in this figure.

Jennifer McKee, the Montana Lottery communication manager, believes it is not unrealistic for there to be $500,000 worth of bets placed in the state each week.

“That will go up as we expand our retail base and the number of places people can place bets,” she said in an interview with KTVH.

“Sports Bet Montana really was designed to benefit our small business partners. We all see the value of it now as these businesses are working hard to be successful. We are really happy that Sports Bet Montana can be part of how they are successful.”

Football is the most popular sport to bet on in Montana, so that figure could rise as the season moves towards the play-offs. However, COVID-19 concerns are beginning to have an impact on the NFL after a number of Tennessee Titans players and staff tested positive in September.

All eyes are on the NFL to see how the outbreak with the Titans is going to be dealt with.

Advantages of gambling online

Many people prefer to gamble at online casinos, so there could be public pressure on Montana’s legislators to force through a change to the state’s gambling regulations.

The benefits of playing online include that you can try the games for free before opting to play for real cash – sites such as DogSlots are ideal for anyone who wants to do this.

Offers and promotions also tend to be a lot more competitive at online casinos, which is great news for players who are happy to shop around for the very best deals.

The flexibility of playing at online casinos is another plus point, with players able to login and try their luck on games such as blackjack and roulette at any time of the day or night. Anyone who does not live close to a casino will find being able to gamble online very helpful as well.

And with a lot of casinos now offering a live casino option, this is as close an experience to visiting a bricks and mortar casino around, which is likely to be popular now due to the current COVID-19 restrictions.

The trend across America is for gambling online to be legalized and regulated, so it is very possible this is a road Montana looks to go down in the coming years.