After the finalization of rules to implement sports betting, the Montana Lottery has opened applications for locations to offer wagering on collegiate and professional sporting events.
The program will be called Sports Bet Montana. In the state Legislature earlier this year, lawmakers passed two bills allowing for sports wagering, following a U.S. Supreme Court order that paved the way. Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, vetoed one that allowed for private entities to operate sports betting and signed one that put the Lottery in charge.
The rules drafted by the Montana Lottery and published early this month open the door for locations that meet requirements to start applying for licenses. To offer sports betting under the rules, a location must have an appropriate alcohol license to allow for gambling. Those are generally bars and taverns. Estimates show about 1,400 locations could be eligible to offer wagering on sporting events.
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As businesses are approved for licenses, the Lottery will begin statewide training and then move betting kiosks into locations.
Sports betting must be done at licensed locations. Online gambling remains illegal in Montana. Players can download a mobile app to plan for upcoming events and see lines and available bets. But wagers can only be placed from inside the licensed location, either using the mobile app, which will recognize when it's in an approved location, or the kiosk.
It's not yet clear when people can start placing bets. Earlier this year the Lottery had predicted a roll-out before the end of the year, but it's not clear if that is feasible.