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Montana

Montana is not a big state, but that hasn't stopped it from offering one of the biggest retail sports betting scenes in the country. The most distinguished sportsbook brands and their apps cannot be found in MT, but the state is bordering on over 100 retail betting sites.

Legal and licensed apps:

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All legal ways to bet on in Montana

Is online sports betting legal in Montana?Yes, with restrictions
Is in-person sports betting legal?Yes
Is daily fantasy sports legal?No
Is betting on college sports legal?Yes
Is horse racing betting legal?Yes
Is greyhound betting legal?No
Is political betting legal?No
Is eSports betting legal?No

Montana does not have any restrictions when it comes to wagering on professional and collegiate sports. While MT does not have any professional sports teams, they do have popular in-state colleges, and residents have free reign to wager on them. While betting on pro and collegiate sports is available, the ability to use daily fantasy sports apps is prohibited due to MCA 23-5-802.

Outside of daily fantasy sports apps, residents also do not have the option to bet on politics or eSports. As far as racing goes, Montana bettors can legally wager on both horse racing and greyhound racing, both of which are very popular in the Treasure State.

Online sports betting in The Treasure State

Sports betting bills are like snowflakes, they all look the same from afar, but when they examine them, they are all drastically different. Montana is one of those states that have drastically different sports betting legislation from the rest of the states that have legalized it. While MT is nowhere close to being one of the most populated states, it still has way over 100 retail betting locations and only one mobile betting app.

Two bills related to sports betting emerged in Montana in 2019. One of them, SB 330, would have allowed tavern owners to open sports betting kiosks if they applied for a permit. This bill also would allow mobile sports betting, but it would only allow it to take place in these taverns.

The other bill was HB 725, which called for the state lottery to regulate sports betting, creating a monopoly. Under HB 725, mobile sports betting would also only be allowed inside licensed facilities, so Governor Steve Bullock essentially had to decide whether to let the state's sports betting scene be a competition or a monopoly.

In the end, Bullock would elect for HB 725, and since then, the state has remained complacent with its legislation. This removed competition from the sports betting market and allowed all lottery retailers in the state to offer sports betting. Only one mobile betting app, Sports Bet Montana, is legally allowed to operate in the state, but that comes with restrictions.

Residents can download Sports Bet Montana and even deposit money into the app from the comfort of their own homes, but when it comes time to actually place a wager, a bettor must be physically present at a licensed retail betting location.

Sports betting & gambling legislation in MT

Whether a resident wants to participate in the lottery or place a legal sports wager in Montana, they must be at least 18 years old. Montana is one of the few states remaining with a legal gambling age under 21. The Treasure State also restricts how much a resident can bet on a single wager. The max a customer can bet in person is $250, but if that person is on location of a licensed retail betting location, they may also wager up to $1,000 if they are using their mobile device.

The Montana Lottery regulates those rules and regulations. For taxes, the lottery will withhold 6.9% of all gambling winnings over $5,000 for state tax, which is in addition to the 24% federal tax, which remains the same for all states.

The current legislation also does not allow for the legalization of online casinos. As long as there is a monopoly on sports betting and mobile betting remains restricted, it is unlikely we will see iGaming or online poker legalized in MT. This leaves DFS apps and the lottery as the only other gambling options in the state outside of sports betting, social sportsbooks, and retail casinos.

Are online casinos legal in Montana?No
Are retail casinos legal?Yes
Are social sportsbooks legal?Yes
Are sweepstakes/social casinos legal?Yes
Is online poker legal?No
Is the lottery legal?Yes
The launch date of sports betting in Montana?March 9, 2020
How many legal sports betting apps are there in MT?1
How many legal retail betting sites are there in MT?100+
Is remote registration allowed?Yes
Legal age for sports betting in Montana?18+
Montana's tax rate for betting/gambling winnings6.9% (wins greater than $5,000)
Who regulates sports betting in Montana?The Montana Lottery

Most recent updates from the MT sports betting scene

  • September 13, 2023: Golden Entertainment finalizes the sale of its Montana video lottery terminal operations to J&J Ventures Gaming. Initially announced in March, this $114 million deal encompasses Golden Entertainment's Distributed Gaming Operations throughout MT.

  • May 19, 2023: A new report by the American Gaming Association shows that sports betting is growing at a rapid pace in Montana. One of the numbers showing revenue increased by 12% in 2022.

  • May 11, 2023: William Hill will be coming to the state of Montana through their new deal with an expanded partnership with Golden Entertainment.

  • May 5, 2023: PointsBet introduces a new horse racing betting app called PointsBet Racing in 25 states, including Montana. The app offers access to over 180 tracks worldwide, and features live streaming and replay capabilities.

  • April 15, 2023: Montana bounced back from a slower betting month in February by surpassing $5.5 million in sports betting handle for March.

In-person sports betting sites and locations

All sports betting in Montana revolves around in-person wagering. Since every lottery retailer has the option to provide legal sports wagering, there are over 100 retail locations spread all across the state, with over 70 of them located in Billings and over 40 in Missoula.

Since the Montana lottery is in charge of all sports betting operations in the state, it is hard to imagine the landscape of the MT betting market will be changing anytime soon. You can check the full list of available retail sports betting sites from the Montana Lottery’s website.

Sports betting in neighboring states

The area in which Montana is located is not considered a hot bet for sports betting. While both North and South Dakota have passed a sports betting bill, both of their markets remain very limited, much like Montana’s. In Wyoming, online sports wagering is fully legal, with, as of April 2024, a total of four sportsbook apps live in the state.

Aside from these, Idaho hasn't legalized sports betting in any form. To find out more about all the ins and outs of each state's sports betting legislation, you can click on them in the box down below.

StateOnline sports bettingRetail sports bettingDFSHorse Race betting
IdahoIllegalLegal (restricted)IllegalLegal
WyomingLegalLegalLegalLegal
South DakotaLegal (restricted)LegalLegalLegal
North DakotaIllegalLegalLegalLegal

Sports betting revenue impact on Montana's economy

Since Montana’s sports betting scene is run entirely by the state lottery, the way licenses work is different from that of most states. If a location happens to be a lottery retailer, then it can offer sports betting. The exact fee for a license in the state is unknown at the moment. All licensed operators are required to pay an 8.5% tax rate on their adjusted gross sports betting receipts.

Montana is not a state that will end up on the top of any list comparing monthly or yearly handle and or revenue. The state has never once surpassed $10 million in handle for a single month, and since sports betting became legal in 2020, MT has only recorded two months with $1 million in revenue, both of which came at the tail end of 2023.

There are two big reasons for Montana’s sports betting numbers, which are population and market layout. For population, Montana is in the bottom ten of states, and that does not mix well with not having mobile betting fully available. For comparison, Maine is similar in terms of population and does not have an expansive market, yet with mobile betting available they see around $40 million in handle on a monthly basis.

Montana sports betting record months:

  • Sports betting handle: December 2022 ($7,218,595)

  • Revenue: October 2023 ($1,102,195)

  • Tax income: September 2022 ($288,906)

MT sports betting revenue in 2024

Month

Handle (MoM)

Revenue (MoM)

Tax income

Mar. 2024

$6,588,001

$500,562

-$94,943

Feb. 2024

$4,702,532

$253,229

-$130,215

Jan. 2024

$5,863,499

$852,106

$159,454

2024 Total YTD

$17,154,032

$1,605,897

$-65,704

Montana - Some commonly asked questions (FAQ):

What are the legal sports betting options in Montana?

Over 100 retail betting facilities can take legal sports wagers in Montana, but only one mobile betting app is available in the state, and it must be used on the property of a retail location. Daily fantasy sports apps are also not available in the state.

How much tax revenue has MT generated from legal sports betting?

Due to the sports betting landscape created by the Montana sports betting bill, the state has made just over $3 million in tax revenue from sports betting since March 2020.

What is the number one sports rivalry in Montana?

With MT not being home to any pro sports teams, the biggest rivalry in the state is between the University of Montana Grizzlies and Montana State Bobcats.

Who is the most famous sports figure from MT?

Legendary NBA head coach Phil Jackson was born in and partially raised in Deer Lodge, Montana.