Montana Sports Betting Becomes Legal, First State To Do So In 2019

Montana Sports Betting Becomes Legal, First State To Do So In 2019

A cluster of states has been patiently waiting for legislation signed into law introducing sports betting in some form this calendar year, and The Treasure State gets its turn first.

Montana sports betting is now legalized for both land-based and mobile operations after Governor Steve Bullock signed the measure into law on May 3, making it the first state to legalize sports betting in 2019. Montana joins several other states which have already either dipped its toes or gone knee-deep into the industry, and have seen positive results from it as well. The list of states with legal sports betting includes the following:

Some of these states have legalized sports betting across the board, while others still only allow it at land-based venues. In The Treasure State, legislation is set to cover Montana online sports betting as well. The industry has even broken through in the Midwest as Indiana online sports betting was approved just days after Montana and is expected to launch in the fall of 2019.

MT Sports Betting: Which Bill Did The Governor Choose?

Gov. Bullock, a Democrat, was sent two versions of a potential bill to allow traditional wagering as well as Montana online sports betting. One came from the House (HB 725) and was introduced by fellow Democrat Ryan Lynch, while one came from the Senate (SB 303) and was brought forward by Republican Mark Blasdel. The House bill authorized only Intralot, the state lottery provider, to offer Montana sports betting while the Senate bill called for private business to apply for the right to be a MT sports betting operator. Bullock wound up vetoing the Senate bill and signing the House bill into law, technically selecting along party lines.

In the end, he favored more government control over gambling policy, which is what the state has because of the Intralot being the lone provider. Bullock also stated he didn’t want to flood the newly-created MT sports betting market and that Intralot is already experienced at establishing these types of regulations, which is true. This Intralot one-provider monopoly is the exact model that is currently in place in our nation’s capital with DC sports betting, which has also passed a sports betting law in 2018.

Montana Sports Betting Set To Generate Millions In Its First Year

The Montana state lottery projects that more than $65 million will be wagered in MT sports betting during its first year. At an 8.5 percent tax rate, the government is expected to generate $3.7 million in tax revenue over the first 12 months. Estimates rise to $5.4 million in revenue by 2023.

The measure also allows certain bars and restaurants to set up kiosks on the premises that can be used for place mobile Montana sports betting wagers. This comes on the heels of the bill’s support from The Montana Tavern Association, which sees an opportunity to pull in and keep customers who are there to take part in MT online sports betting.

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