Montana Could Be The Next State To Legalise Sports Betting

Viktor Vangelov | Published 23 Apr 2019, 2:50 p.m.

It appears that there is a race between multiple US states as to which would be the first one to legalise sports betting and/or gambling in general. We have reported on this more than few times this year and the number of states that are considering or already going through with the idea is growing.

About a month ago we gave you a US sports betting legalisation update, where we discussed the situation in Tennessee, Connecticut, Maryland and Ohio, and earlier this month a proposal was put in Nebraska and betting was also legalised in North Carolina. In addition to Nebraska and North Carolina, now we have an update on the situation in Montana.

Betting In Montana Will Be Legal Pretty Soon

It appears that one signature is needed for betting to be legalised Montana. The lawmakers in this state passed two pieces of legislation that apply to sports betting. If the Governor signs both bills, or at least one, sports betting in Montana would become legal. Montana isn’t a large state and betting legalisation wouldn’t have a tremendous impact on the market as a whole, but it would definitely motivate other states to consider sports betting.

Many other states were also considering introducing legislation regarding sports betting, including neighbouring South Dakota and North Dakota, but Montana, surprisingly, might win the race. The bills gained bipartisan support which explains why the State Senate was so quick to legalise sports betting in the first place.

Two Bills Waiting On The Governor’s Signature

The Senate Bill 330 was passed by the Senate with 36 votes in favour and 14 against, before proceeding to the House where it was amended, and the amended version was supported by 90 lawmakers with only nine against. The version was sent back to the Senate where it was supported by 33 Senators with 17 opposed.

The second bill (725) also gained a lot of support and was passed with 88 House votes in favour and ten against. The Senate voted in favour of this bill last Wednesday with 34 members being in favour and only 16 against.

Residents of Montana and tourists alike would be allowed to place sports wagers at specialised sports bars or betting kiosks, or perhaps even both. In fact, it seems that venues with an alcohol licence such as bars and restaurants would be permitted to apply for a sports betting license.

If the second bill is signed, then convenient stores will also be allowed to offer sports betting, organised by the state lottery. Theoretically, if both bills are passed there might be a need for two regulatory bodies.

PokerStars Fined In New Jersey

One of the pioneering states when it comes to sports betting and other forms of gambling – New Jersey, just fined one of the largest poker operators – PokerStars for accepting bets on college sports. Apparently, PokerStars accepted not one or two, but a total of 216 bets on a basketball game between Rutgers and Eastern Michigan totalling to $2,756. A bet was also placed on the game between Monmouth University and the University on Pennsylvania.

The fine amount is $10,000 which is rather symbolic for such a large operator but it goes to show that the PASPA is enforced and that operators can expect more severe fines in the future.