Online Sports Betting in Montana
Montana was one of four states considered “exempt” from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) of 1992. This is because the Treasure State already had extensive laws in place. Following the US-wide introduction of PAPSA, the state’s legislators would go on to ban all forms of internet gambling in 2005. However, PAPSA was then overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018 and it gave way to many new changes to laws.
Montana legalized sports betting in 2019 thanks to House Bill 725. Rep. Ryan Lynch sponsored it, while Governor Steve Bullock signed it into law on May 3rd of the same year. This law allows the state’s residents to engage in sports betting at regulated sportsbooks locations. The state lottery took control of these licensed locations for at least seven years and thanks to it, sports betting is now available for residents in safe and regulated environments.
However, sports betting in Montana is not currently legalized for online play. Gamblers must either use a terminal in a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, or they can use an app within that location. Placing bets anywhere else in MT is not permitted, with all players having to be 18+ to participate in sports betting within the state.
With Montana having a sparse population, online gambling might not see further regulation for some time. What’s more, the state lacks major sports franchises. For in-state games, sportsbooks would only be able to offer odds on minor leagues or collegiate sports. If betting at the land-based casinos proves to be popular, we might see lawmakers legalize online gambling in Montana in the future. Should any updates appear, you will find them on this page.
What Are the Rules for Online Casinos in Montana?
Like sports betting, casinos in Montana have a long history of heavy regulation. Although the state allows charitable and tribal casinos, it bans commercial and online ones. While legislators have shown some interest in legalizing online sports betting, the same cannot be said about online casinos.
It is illegal to operate an online casino within the state borders of Montana, and it would also be illegal to play there. Some sites claim that players can get around this by signing up for offshore casinos, however this might not always be the safest path. It might not be secure, which could lead to the leaking of your sensitive data and information online, or the wrongful withholding of your winnings. Until Montana introduces new regulations, players should not access online casinos.
If a resident in MT does want to indulge in some online casino games, they can either hop a state border to somewhere that allows this, or they could visit one of the land-based locations. There are ten brick-and-mortar casinos owned by federally-recognized tribes around the state and many others that offer slots and different casino games. Any venue with a liquor license can have up to twenty gaming machines, so many of Montana’s bars have some sort of machine in a corner or a poker table for customers.
However, Montana bans most table games. Even in regulated casinos, you probably won’t find games like blackjack and roulette available for play. Many slots are also closer to bingo or keno games than true slots.
Lawmakers are in no rush to introduce regulations concerning online casino gambling in Montana, however they could always introduce a new bill to the State House of Representatives. You will be able to find coverage of any new changes to the law here on this page when they arise.
Does Montana Allow Online Poker?
Much like online casino play, the Treasure State also bans online gambling in the form of live internet poker, with the law coming into force in 2005. Many companies attempt to get around this ban by claiming that you can sign up for overseas sites to play. However, since the state does not regulate these, any online destinations offering residents of Montana live poker games cannot be fully trusted. Just as with internet casinos, there is a chance that these sites might not be secure and not a good place to share your sensitive financial data.
Live poker games and video terminals are available at the regulated land-based casinos, as the state considers it to be a game of skill. If you want to legally play competitive poker in the Treasure State, heading to one of these destinations will be the only truly legal opportunity for you. However, the law states that the maximum prize fund can be no larger than $800.
If lawmakers introduce any bills with the aims of changing the legality of online poker in Montana, you will find more information on this page.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Sites Available in Montana?
While states on the East Coast are slowly introducing regulations for daily fantasy sports, things are a little slower in the Western states. In Montana, fantasy sports games are only available from the state lottery, with State Code Section 23-5-802 prohibiting players from wagering on them by telephone or the internet. This law has meant that many of the popular daily fantasy sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel have not been able to operate in this state.
Fantasy sports are one of the most popular pastimes in the United States and allow gamblers to get involved with some of their favorite sports. If legislators decide to allow residents of Montana to gamble online in this way, you will be able to find coverage of the bill’s progress here.
How to Play the State Lottery in Montana
Following a referendum in 1986, Montana introduced its state lottery. The first ticket was sold on June 24th, 1987 to then-Governor Ted Schwinden. Though he did not win, one other lucky player scooped the first $10,000 jackpot four hours later.
Nowadays, players can take part in several games throughout the week. The Montana Cash game draws twice weekly with a minimum prize of $40,000, while the Big Sky Bonus is a progressive jackpot that draws daily. State residents can also take part in the multi-jurisdictional games Loot America, Lucky for Life, Mega Millions, and Powerball.
You must be 18+ to buy lottery tickets in Montana with State law prohibiting the purchase of tickets through the lottery’s website or an app. You can only buy them from one of the many licensed retailers around the state. However, you can find the winning numbers online. Participants can also choose to join the Player’s Club for second chance draws and exclusive online-only games.
Additional Information About Gambling in Montana
The state lottery’s rules mean that at least 45% of the revenue goes to winners as prizes. Once they remove administration costs, the remaining money goes to the state government. They use this money to support the state’s General Fund and the Montana STEM Scholarship program. The lottery has paid out $623 million in prizes since its inception in 1987 and given $270 million back to the state for other projects.
The Future of Online Gambling in Montana
Though it might seem like there is little chance of full regulation of gambling in Montana, change can happen at any moment. Many states are beginning to adopt new legislation and growing pressures from neighbors might cause lawmakers in the Treasure State to reconsider their current regulations. The legalization of sports betting is a great start and we shall hopefully see new changes and opportunities come to online destinations soon. If any changes in the law arise, you will be able to find news and coverage of them here.