Sports betting is legal in Montana via terminals operated by the state lottery. Customers 18 and older can also download the Sports Bet Montana app to manage their accounts, make deposits, and prepare wagers. Still, they must visit authorized retailers in person to place wagers.

Legalizing onlinesports betting in Montana will require new legislation, but state lawmakers haven’t yet indicated a desire to change the current status quo. As a result, it will likely be quite some time before the first legal Montana sports betting sites launch for bettors. In the meantime, fans can visit hundreds of locations to bet on sports in person via self-serve kiosks located throughout the state.

The only other form of legal online betting in Montana is pari-mutuel wagering on horse races through licensed online racebooks. All other forms of Montana online betting are restricted due to current state laws. Read on to learn all about the current state of Montana sports betting, how to bet on sports, and a review of the state’s gambling laws.

State of Montana Sports Betting Overview

Montana sports betting was legalized in 2019 after Governor Steve Bullock signed into law a piece of legislation allowing the state lottery to install sports betting kiosks at licensed casinos, taverns, and restaurants. Additionally, sports bettors located inside those establishments may place wagers through their mobile devices. Statewide online sports betting in Montana remains strictly off-limits.

The Montana Lottery Commission approved sports betting regulations later that year and revealed the name of the sportsbook product: Sports Bet Montana.

The official Montana sports betting app allows bettors to register, deposit funds, and plan wagers. Still, fans may only place wagers when physically present at an establishment licensed to host self-serve sportsbook terminals. The Montana Lottery uses geolocation technology to ensure customers may only place wagers when present at authorized locations.

The expansion of legal sports betting in Montana was not a first for the state. MT was one of the only states to receive an exemption from PASPA for a form of fantasy football offered by the lottery (more on that below under “Montana Lottery”). However, it was only after PASPA was repealed in 2018 that the state was able to expand its betting options to include traditional, single-game wagers on a wide variety of sports.

A report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming published in 2017 placed Montana on the shortlist of 14 states most likely to legalize sports betting within two years of the Supreme Court overturning the federal law that prohibits sports betting.

That prediction proved to be spot-on as lawmakers approved two separate sports betting bills fewer than two years later. First, there was SB 330, which would have allowed tavern owners to apply for permits to host sports betting kiosks managed by various operators. This bill would have also permitted mobile sports betting for patrons physically present within a tavern.

Lawmakers also sent Governor Bullock HB 725, allowing the MT Lottery to operate sports betting terminals. This bill sought to grant a monopoly to the state lottery. Still, it would provide the advantage of allowing the lottery to leverage its existing VGM infrastructure to offer sports betting throughout the state.

Like SB 330, HB 725 takes an approach allowing bars and restaurants to install sports betting kiosks managed by the lottery. This bill, too allows mobile wagering for customers located within range of a betting terminal.

Some state representatives recommended Governor Bullock sign both bills in order to create a competitive sports betting environment. If he signed both, machines operated by the lottery would have competed with those operated by tavern owners and the like.

Ultimately, Governor Bullock chose to sign HB 725 into law and veto SB 330. This decision has given the MT Lottery a monopoly over sports betting, much to the chagrin of operators hoping to make an entrance into Montana. However, Governor Bullock did leave the door open to competition.

Montana is one of the few states in the US with gaming laws that explicitly outlaw online gambling.

However, Montana does allow online sports betting to a limited extent. Under a bill signed in 2019, patrons at bars and restaurants that host licensed sports betting terminals managed by the lottery may place wagers via mobile apps – but only while those patrons are physically present at those establishments.

State of Montana Sports Betting Timeline

Sports betting became legal in Montana in April 2019.