- Montana was previously one of four states that were pardoned of the federal prohibition of sports betting known as PASPA.
- Montana Governor Steve Bullock has the option to sign two sports betting bills, sign one and veto the other, or let them both pass without a signature at all.
- Sports betting in Montana would be primarily held at restaurants, taverns, and bars that already have a liquor license.
HELENA, Mont. – Sports betting in Montana is now only a few days away from becoming the new law of the land. Earlier this week, the second of two different sports gambling bills were sent to MT Governor Steve Bullock’s office to sign.
The two potential pieces of legislation include House Bill MT HB 0725 and Senate Bill SB 0330. While each of them would legalize sports wagering kiosks in bars, taverns, and restaurants, the method in which they are provided would differ.
MT HB 0725 would put the Montana Lottery in charge of both overseeing and providing the state’s sports wagering options. The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 32-12 and garnered support from Senate President Mark Blasdel.
“I think this is just as good a product as the one that is in my bill, and so I’d like to see both of them go through,” said Blasdel.
Blasdel’s bill is SB 0330, which passed through the House by a vote of 90-9. The key difference in his proposal is that sports wagering will be regulated by the Attorney General’s Office and would allow authorized establishments to partner with third-party sportsbook providers to offer the service.
“I think competition creates opportunity as far as what products are out there, but it’s also better to keep it on an even playing field for the bettors and the taverns to have choices,” said Blasdel.
Both bills would allow for sports bettors as young as 18 to play and would even allow for mobile betting if you are within a certain parameter of an authorized kiosk, creating even more availability to the activity.
However, the timing in which official sports bets can be placed would differ among the two bills.
If the lottery were granted the power to provide legal Montana sports betting kiosks then a rollout within six months would be possible. If the attorney-general-model is chosen, then June of 2020 seems to be the likely target for a launch.
Governor Bullock could very well sign both bills into law, ultimately giving sports bettors and license holders the most options. He also has the option to sign only one, veto both, or allow them to become law without his signature after 10 days.
Given the overwhelming support in both of the state’s legislative chambers, it is expected that he will sign at least one, if not both.
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.