The Montana Lottery is now accepting public comments about the proposed sports betting rules.

  • Sports wagering in Montana can be conducted in up to 1,400 locations spread throughout the state.
  • Mobile sports betting in Montana will be restricted to retail locations that have a sports betting license.
  • November 4, 2019, will be the last day that Montana residents can submit a public comment on the proposed rules.

HELENA, Mont. – On Friday, the Montana Lottery released the first draft of rules and regulations for sports betting in the state. The public will now have a 30-day window to submit any comments or concerns about the proposed rules to the state Lottery.

“The sports wagering law passed in May and we’ve been working hard ever since to build something Montanans will be excited about,” said Angela Wong, director for the Montana Lottery. “We’ve got a lot to share with Montanans, but the first step is making sure their voices are heard as we move forward.”

The landscape for sports betting in Montana will look very different than most other places.

While most states that have legalized the activity have awarded sports betting licenses to their casinos, Montana will instead grant any facility with an alcohol and lottery license the ability to offer sports wagering. These qualifying establishments consist of mostly restaurants, bars, and taverns.

This means there is a potential for there to be 1,400 sports betting license holders in the state. The cost to apply for a license is only $50. This amount is tiny when compared to the fees that gaming facilities in other states with legal sports betting have had to pay.

In Pennsylvania, casinos have to pay $10 million and 36% on sports betting revenue just to operate the activity. However, PA has a greater population and a much larger sports gambling market. Each state that has legalized this type of gaming has done so in a unique way.

Bars, restaurants, and taverns that are granted the ability to offer sports betting in Montana will do so by installing betting kiosks inside their establishments. Those venues will be able to keep a 6 percent base commission on the handle the terminals produce with the potential for extra earnings if they exceed sales goals.

Mobile betting in Montana will follow the Mississippi model. Sports bettors can sign up for an account through any betting terminal but they will only be able to use the lottery’s sports wagering app if they are physically inside a licensed establishment.

The Montana lottery will offer betting lines for both professional and collegiate sports as well. Those putting money down on sports will have to be 18 years old or older and those who want to claim winnings that exceed $600 will have to do so through the lottery directly.

A public hearing will be conducted on October 28 at the Montana Lottery headquarters in Helena. The final day to submit a public comment will be November 4. The Lottery hopes to roll out the activity by the end of 2019.

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