Montana Governor Bullock Signs One Betting Bill Vetoes Other

MT Governor Steve Bullock has legalized domestic wagering in hopes of generating much-needed tax revenue.

Montana is the first US state in 2019 to officially legalize an introduced sports gambling expansion bill. This state beat Iowa, Indiana, and Tennessee to the punch and isn’t stopping there. Licensing applications, sorting procedures, and venue arrangements are already underway as the state hopes to launch domestic legal betting options come football season in fall.

The bill which the Governor signed, HB 725, will give the state lottery oversight authority over Montana sports gambling activities. The bill allows wagering in-person through kiosks and legal betting online mobile apps. However, two bills were presented to Gov. Bullock the other which was formally vetoed was SB 330 which would have allowed private businesses to offer betting after they received licensing by the state.

Gov. Bullock rejected the Senate bill deciding the state should proceed with domestic sports gambling conservatively, “Sports betting is new to our state. As many legislators and stakeholders have observed, unfortunately, a new market like this cannot support sports wagering under both systems at once. For the market to succeed, Montana needs to enter the sports wagering market conservatively-adopting only one of the two models now. 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”.

It is said MGM and William Hill were some of the private business operators looking into serving Montana bettors if SB 330 passed.

HB 725 was signed into law on May 3rd, 2019 nearly one year after the repeal of PASPA by SCOTUS. Montana was grandfathered in under PASPA to continue supporting its limited betting option in the form of a 100 sq-limit Montana sports pool card. However, since PASPA’s repeal, Montana quietly pursued expanded sports gambling opportunities.

Montana’s State Lottery and its technology supplier Intralot expects about $3.7 million in tax revenue for the first year of legalization and more than $5 million every year after. This value is estimated after expenses are paid. Tax revenue is said to be redirected to the state’s scholarship fund and treasury.

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