“Big Sky Country” is the moniker of Montana and rightfully so, especially now. When it comes to sports gambling the “sky is the limit” as Montana has legalized sports wagering in the state. The original rollout was supposed to take place for the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. But COVID-19 put those hopes on hold. However, everything is in place and set for sports gambling when action resumes. Although Montana is small in population compared to most other states it borders Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota and Canada. Montana is the 17th state in the union to offer sports betting. Let’s now take a look at how sports betting will work in “Big Sky Country.”
The state of Montana has legalized sports gambling but its rollout will be more limited than what is the case in many other states. Initially sports betting will be limited to kiosks at licensed bars and restaurants. The legal age for betting on sports in the state of Montana is 18 years of age or older. Keep in mind that there are no casinos that are offering sports betting in the state of Montana, its only done through the kiosks located at the licensed bars and restaurants. The Montana Lottery runs sports gambling in the state of Montana and there are over 100 licensed state sales agents that offer the kiosks for gamblers to use. The Montana State Lottery uses Intralot as its operator and supplier.
Additionally, the mobile betting option in the state of Montana is rather cumbersome and limited. The device is called Sports Bet Montana and it is only useable inside of a land-based sports wagering operator, which basically defeats the whole purpose of mobile sports wagering in the first place. This is a classic case of Montana dipping its toe into the water of mobile wagering and may serve to discourage more than encourage the sports betting public. Basically, the only real benefit of mobile sports betting in the state of Montana is that you don’t have to get out of your seat at the bar or restaurant to walk up to a kiosk and place your bet. If you are not in close range of the sports betting kiosk your mobile betting ability is useless.
When sports gambling was initially rolled out in the state of Montana its designated supplier Intralot made numerous errors on pointspread and money line prices that sharp gamblers could have taken full advantage of. Intralot has taken a lot of heat for its poor quality and numerous errors in other areas of the country it supplies and operates for such as the District of Columbia. Additionally, Intralot caused delays in the rollout of sports gambling in the state of Montana.
On the positive Montana moved more rapidly in comparison to other states to get sports betting up and running. March Madness was supposed to be the official kickoff despite some early betting before then. When the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was cancelled so too were Montana’s plans to use that as the vehicle to get the state fully involved in wagering on sports. The state did run tests to make sure that everything would operate correctly for March Madness.
On the positive the cancellation of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament gives the state of Montana additional time to work out the kinks of sports gambling so that when sports do return the vendors can more effectively handle wagering demand.
In the state of Nevada, you can wager on pro and college football, pro and college basketball, pro baseball, pro hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, boxing, mixed martial arts, and motor sports.
When you bet at the kiosk terminals in the state of Montana the maximum allowed wager is $250 with mobile wagers capped at $1000. The low limits are due to what Montana calls a pursuit to “contribute to the common good.”
The most important takeaway in regards to Montana is the fact that the state overwhelmingly supports sports gambling initiatives and is eager to ensure that the process will work.