Montana takes step closer to legalising sports wagering

The Montana Lottery has released its draft sports wagering regulations for public comment.

The state lottery has said that it is working towards a launch of legal sports wagering by the end of 2019. The draft regulations have stated that the sports wagering may be offered “whenever the director, with the Commission’s concurrence, finds it feasible and in the state’s best interest.”

Lottery director Angela Wong said: “The sports wagering law passed in May and we’ve been working hard ever since to build something Montanans will be excited about.

“We’ve got a lot to share with Montanans, but the first step is making sure their voices are heard as we move forward.”

The consultation comes after governor Steve Bullock signed a bill legalising sports betting in Montana in May. The sports betting law, House Bill 725, allows for sports wagering conducted by the state lottery and sets a tax rate of 8.5 per cent of receipts as well as a license fee of $1,000.

The new draft, sees regulations being put into place which would allow for anonymous retail sports betting, in order to “allow persons who are new to sports wagering the ability to experience sports betting without providing personal information”.

However, all mobile wagering has to be account-based, and all retail players will still have to verify their identity before they are able to place bets.

The regulations also provide for a voluntary self-exclusion programme, as well as coming with the option to set personal deposits, spending and time limits. Players have to be over the age of 18 to be able to place a bet and under the regulations, any accounts which do not place a bet for 18 months have to be closed.

While the Montana Lottery has an effective monopoly on sports wagering, the regulations stipulate that lottery sales agents may offer sports wagering on behalf of the lottery for a 50 dollar licence fee. Sales agents who offer sports wagers are entitled to a six per cent base commission of the value of sports wagers made, with a series of potential bonuses for sales targets.

Further parameters for sports betting will be established by the Montana Lottery’s management.

The public consultation period will be open for at least 30 days, with a public hearing scheduled for 28 October.

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