• Gov. Steve Bullock (D) vetoed SB 330 on May 3.
• The bill’s veto override fell well short of the necessary 2/3 vote during polling.
• For now, MT sports betting will be online and administered by the state lottery.

HELENA, Mont. – On Tuesday, Democrat Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s override of SB 330 was upheld. SB 330 was a piece of sports wagering legislation that would have allowed private sportsbooks to operate at in-state brick-and-mortar venues.

The poll to bypass the governor’s veto fell significantly short of the required two-thirds of legislative support. Between abstentions and party-line deferments, SB 330 garnered 74 votes for and 39 votes against in polling.

Early on, SB 330 – sponsored by Sen. Mark Blasdel (R) – seemed likely to become law. The measure had the support of the Montana Tavern Association and the state legislature. The bill was passed on to the governor by a vote of 90-9 in the Senate and 33-17 in the House.

Though the bill’s original legislative support was overwhelming at 123-26 (83 percent), its post-veto support dropped to just 50 percent.

Notably, 24 Democrats defected, changing their initial yeas to nays. Another 28 Democrats who previously voted on the issue failed to respond to the poll altogether. This doomed any chance that legal sports betting had at the moment.

Despite the hurdles with SB 330 and installing land-based sports betting in Montana, the pastime itself was successfully legalized on May 3 when Gov. Bullock signed HB 725 into law.

This legalized online sports betting in Montana, giving oversight authority to the state lottery. The Montana government has contracted with lottery software giant INTRALOT to provide bookmaking services to the state for the next seven years.

While the rollout could meet delays, the Montana Lottery is working towards a Q3 2019 release of its betting platform. This would allow state residents to sign up and wager in time for the lucrative and popular NFL season.

Summary

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