The Constitution of Montana was originally written in 1889, and gambling activities had no place in them. Gambling was to remain outlawed for quite some time until in 1937 when only Table Games were allowed, that too for a brief period. We also find slot machines being offered in bars during this period. However, these slot machines were soon deemed to be illegal by the Supreme Court of Montana in 1950. Efforts were made to reverse this ruling by creating a constitutional referendum which lost by a margin of 4 to 1.
In the year 1972, the voter’s right to authorize gambling was passed over to the state legislature. A bill was passed by the lawmakers that made possible the legalization of live poker, keno, and bingo the year after. In the year 1976 Electronic Keno was added through a ruling by the Supreme Court.
In 1980, video poker machines became functional across the state. These machines, according to their owners, were operating under the keno ruling. The state Supreme Court opposed this in 1984, but the legislature turned the decision around a year later. At that time the highest payout could be $100. When they were first rolled out, these video poker machines were not taxable. The operators only had to pay a licensing fee once a year. It was only in 1987 that the state started levying a tax rate of 15 percent.
In 1986 we saw the formation of a state lottery. We also find the establishment of tribal-state compacts in 1994. The payouts on keno machines and video poker were bumped up to 800 dollars in 1995.
In the 2000s there was a lot of effort to offer table games at Montana casinos, which was met by failure. The only games available was video lottery and poker. All types of online gambling were banned in 2005, except for Horse Racing.
Online Gambling Laws in Montana
Unlike most other states in the US, online gambling is mentioned explicitly in the gaming laws of the state. The updated 2005 version of the gaming laws includes the words “internet gambling” in section 23-5-112 as part of the Montana Code. According to line 21 on the page, online gambling is deemed illegal.
Fantasy Sports betting is banned according to Section 23-5-802 of the Montana Code: “it is unlawful to wager on a fantasy sports league by telephone or internet.” DraftKings and FanDuel do not accept real money customers from the state.
All forms of online betting are banned except for Horse Racing.
Mobile Sports Betting is permitted to a limited extent. According to a recent 2019 bill, patrons of restaurants and bars hosting licensed sports betting terminal can make bets through mobile apps as long as they are physically present at the place.
Gambling activities are severely limited in Montana when compared to the other US states or the national gambling scene. There are a few options offered through the Montana Lottery such as Horse Racing and Fantasy Football Leagues.
Sports Betting in Montana
Montana joined the legal sports betting fray in 2019 after Governor Steve Bullock signed into law a piece of legislation allowing the state lottery to host sports betting kiosks inside licensed taverns and restaurants. Additionally, customers located inside those establishments may place wagers via mobile applications while physically present.
Sports Betting was legalized in Montana when in 2019 Governor Steve Bullock ratified legislation that permits the state lottery to operate sports wagering kiosks at licensed restaurants and taverns. Furthermore, mobile bets can also be placed by customers from inside these establishments.
After the repeal of The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 or PASPA in 2018, the state could increase its betting market to include single-game betting on a range of sports games.
Two years later, two different sports betting bills were introduced by the lawmakers. One of them is SB 330, which allowed tavern owners to apply for licenses to host sports betting kiosks managed by several operators. The bill also permitted mobile betting for patrons inside the taverns. The second bill was HB 725, which allowed the Montana Lottery to set up sports betting kiosks in restaurants and bars.
The Governor finally decided to ratify the HB 725 bill while the SB 330 was vetoed. This helped the Montana Lottery to establish a monopoly over sports betting, much to the disappointment of operators seeking an entrance into the state. Governor Bullock, however, in his veto letter, hinted at revisiting the gambling model based on how the state performs under the present model.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Online Fantasy sports are banned in Montana in general. Residents are prohibited from participating in real money games. Senate Bill 25, introduced in December 2016, has loosened the restrictions to allow fantasy sports contests if the following conditions are met:
– The contest lasts for the whole season. There is no daily contest. – The buy-in should not be more than 35 dollars. – The prizes offered should be minimal and non-monetary, for example, t-shirts.
Horse Racing is the only form of betting that is legal in Montana. Montana customers can engage in horse racing activities at most of the major websites. In the state, there are eight off-track betting facilities and three race tracks. Off-track betting allows customers to make bets without actually attending the event.
The state does not permit the purchase or sale of tickets online. The state sells tickets in the form of mobile apps for iPhone and Android using which a pick can be made. A barcode will be generated, which can be used to purchase tickets from the retailer.
Customers can participate in weekly fantasy football leagues hosted by the lottery. These operate similar to the leagues at major fantasy operators. The prizes offers are not as high, and the options are comparatively limited.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Montana?
According to the laws of the state, all forms of internet gambling is forbidden. There is, however, an exception for off-track betting.
Is Sports Betting Legal in Montana?
The only legal form of Daily Fantasy Sports Betting in Montana is the one hosted by the state lottery. The Senate bill introduced in December 2016 allows specific fantasy sports contests based on some strict requirements.
What is The Minimum Gambling Age in Montana?
18 years is the minimum gambling age in Montana. However, the minimum gambling age is 21 years for poker and video lottery.
How Many Casinos are in Montana?
Montana has hundreds of gambling locations across the state. Any place where alcohol is available will have a video lottery machine that offers keno and video poker. A bar may have around 20 video lottery devices.
When Will Montana Legalize Sports Betting?
Considering the legal attempts to criminalize gambling activities over and over again throughout the years, Sports Betting being legalized is a long shot at the moment.