Montana is not necessarily a state that is associated with sports, given its lack of professional sports teams or notable college teams. But Montana’s sports betting landscape is a unique one, and one that has beaten many states to the punch in terms of offering legal sports wagering action. In this guide to Montana sports betting laws, find out what Montana bettors are allowed to do and what sports they can bet on.
Believe it or not, sports wagering in Montana was never technically illegal, as the state was one of the few that was exempt from the PASPA regulations that outlawed sports gambling in most states. But it wasn’t until Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed HB725 into law in May of 2019 that sports betting was formally legalized in the state.
The new law in Montana resulted in the Montana Lottery Commission overseeing the sports betting activity in the state. Intralot serves as the vendor responsible for the sports betting kiosks that are available in locations throughout Montana. Those kiosks saw a roll-out in March of 2020, and were the culmination of nearly a year of work according to Montana Lottery communications manager Jennifer McKee. But what exactly are bettors allowed to do in Montana now that sports betting is legal?
Bettors in Montana are allowed to bet both at in-person kiosks and online thanks to the passed sports betting bill. The Sports Bet Montana terminals are located at bars, taverns and restaurants with a liquor license, with over 180 kiosks being rolled out throughout the state during the first wave of implementation in March of 2020. Many of these kiosks are located in population centers such as Billings and Helena, with the more remote areas of the state offering fewer venues for wagers to be placed.
As it pertains to online betting, Montana does not allow bettors to enjoy as much freedom as some other states with legal sports betting. Bettors have to be at an approved location in order to be able to place wagers from their mobile devices through the Sports Bet Montana app, which is still accepting applications for additional sites and sales agents. But bettors are not able to use this app from the comfort of their own homes.
For Montanans, betting on sports is relatively straightforward. Bettors can either wager in-person at kiosks, or on their mobile devices at pre-approved locations throughout the state. For bettors looking to use kiosks to bet, the Intralot interface allows bettors to select their preferred sport and league, and select the markets they want to wager on in each game. Bettors who take this route receive a physical ticket confirming their wagers.
Mobile betting in Montana requires bettors to use their phones in locations where sports betting has been approved. Fortunately, that might be the most difficult part for bettors in this state, as the Sports Bet Montana app is easy to use once bettors are in those pre-approved locations. The main difference between these two forms of betting is that mobile bettors have to deposit funds up front, rather than only funding one round of wagers at a kiosk.
As far as betting sites go in Montana, the Sports Bet Montana app is the only way that bettors can access legal online sports betting in the state. Bettors are required to use their location services to verify that they are at pre-approved locations to place bets through this app. This means that during times where physical locations are inaccessible, like the COVID-19 pandemic, bettors are unable to wager on sports.
There is one option for physical sports gambling as well, with the same Intralot kiosks being placed at nearly 200 locations throughout Montana at launch. Bettors at all of those locations get the same sportsbook experience regardless of where they are.
When betting on sporting events in Montana, bettors will be satisfied with the amount of sports and bet types that they can get involved with. Bettors can bet on popular professional sports such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, MMA and motor sports such as NASCAR. They can also bet on high-profile events in the NCAA, such as college football and college basketball, including March Madness. Horse racing is also available at racetracks such as the Great Falls Turf Club, for those interested in it.
In terms of the types of wagers that can be made in Montana, bettors can place common bets such as spread, moneyline and totals wagers. They can also get involved in more exotic bets, such as parlay, teaser and prop bets, to ensure that sports betting in Montana is only limited by a bettor’s creativity.