Montana Lottery seeking public input on sports betting

Posted at 7:01 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 21:01:22-04

HELENA – The 2019 Montana Legislature passed House Bill 725, which legalizing sports gambling in the state through the Montana Lottery.

HB725 was signed into law on May 3 and Lottery officials say they’re already hard at work for the implementation.

Jennifer McKee, Montana Lottery Communication Manager, says they are still in the design phase but feel confident in being able to rollout sports wagering just like any of their other games.

“We’re really just following the same process that that we develop everything with,” said McKee, “Sports wagering is legal in many states in the United States, it’s legal around the world and in most of those places it’s the Lottery who does it.”

The Lottery will run a Montana sports book similar to other current wagering in other states, but details have yet to be finalized.

Retailers that want to offer sports wagering will need to get a separate license to offer the service and wagering will only be available inside a licensed location.

“What that means for Montana is you won’t be seeing sports wagering at every grocery store and gas station that currently sells Montana Lottery. It will be only locations get a sports wagering license and it will only in locations where it makes sense,” noted McKee.

The law prohibits any current Montana collegiate or professional coach, player, trainer, staff member or referee from making a bet on any sports game or event. Even athletes competing in sports like golf or rodeo are prohibited.

McKee added the Montana Lottery wants to make sure sports gambling offered reflects what Montanans want and highly encourages people to send in their feedback.

Revenue generated by sports wagering in Montana is currently estimated to around $4 million each year once it’s up and running.