The state of Montana on Monday continued its push toward the launch of legal sports betting with the announcement that it will begin to take applications from establishments across the state wanting to offer sports wagering.
“Today is a big day for Sports Bet Montana,” said Montana Lottery Director Angela Wong. “We’ve been working a long time for this and we’re excited to see that hard work pay off and excited to start the process of launching sports betting.”
To obtain a sports betting terminal(s), an establishment will need to hold a liquor license in addition to a Lottery Sports Wagering License. If approved, to-be-licensed businesses, such as bars and taverns, will be able to install branded Sports Bet Montana terminals (kiosks) powered by the supplier Intralot, which also has the contract for other Montana Lottery offerings. Intralot got the deal despite some protests, as in Washington D.C., that a request-for-proposal process should have occurred.
First kiosks then, perhaps, state-wide mobile availability
Montana became the first state in 2019 to legalize sports wagering, and though state lawmakers sent two sports betting bills to Governor Steve Bullock, he only signed the Lottery version. Since then, the Lottery had a public-comment period, a hearing, and written regulations that were since published and approved.
“Montana needs to enter the sports wagering market conservatively — adopting only one of the two models now,” Bullock said in May. “If, in two years, the market can tolerate more entrants, then I fully expect the legislature will revisit whether a second model is prudent for our state.”
Now that the application and licensing process is underway, the deliberate process will continue with approvals and then training. The Lottery will later provide kiosks to licensed facilities, but there will be no actual sportsbook at any location. In addition, would-be bettors will be able to place bets on their mobile devices, so long as they are located at an establishment with a kiosk.
Lottery partners will get a 6% commission on the value of every ticket sold for sports betting, which is one percent more than selling a lottery ticket. Bettors must be 18 years of age.
As for accessibility and visibility, per the FAQ’s:
Betting can only occur through one of these terminals. However, we will also have a website and app where players can look at upcoming games, see lines, stats, and other information unique to sports wagering. Players can use our website and app wherever they are, but they won’t be able to place a bet through the app unless they are in a location with a terminal and their app is communicating directly to our system through our sports wagering equipment.
Betting can occur through the app or website on a player’s device within the retail location or it can occur on the terminal itself.
And regarding player account funding: “Players will set up an e-wallet linked to our system that can be linked to a player’s debit card or bank account. The acceptable forms of payment into the e-wallet are the same as for any other Montana Lottery purchase. Credit cards are not an acceptable form of payment.”
So, it’s coming, but the official ribbon-cutting probably won’t come until the spring, per a source. Perhaps in time for March Madness.
Up to 1,400 locations may potentially apply for licenses and become vendors. In the coming weeks we should learn just how many apply and may be poised to offer patrons sports wagering kiosks.