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The Montana Lottery approved a series of rules that will regulate sports betting in the state last week. At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Montana Lottery Commission, the members approved the regulations and announced that they would begin to accept licensing applications by the end of the year.
In other news, the Montana Lottery also announced that the sports betting platform for the state would be called “Sports Bet Montana.” Lottery director Angela Wong said, “We’ve been working hard since May to create and build SportsBet Montana.”
For Montana bettors, they’ll find kiosks in the same locations that currently hold lottery machines. These kiosks are usually found in taverns and bars throughout Montana.
Jennifer McKee, Montana Lottery communication manager, said, “What that means for Montana is you won’t be seeing sports wagering at every grocery store and gas station that currently sells Montana Lottery. It will be only locations get a sports wagering license, and it will only [be] in locations where it makes sense.”
One of the biggest regulations included in the final rules for sports betting is that any current collegiate or professional coach, player, trainer, staff member or official that governs those games are prohibited from making any type of bet. That rule covers all sports for Montana colleges, including the obscure ones such as golf or rodeo.
Another rule is for businesses that offer the lottery already while possessing alcohol and gambling licenses, they’ll need further approval from the Lottery Commission and will be able to apply once the secretary of state’s office publishes the rules in a public forum at a time expected to be next month.
Lottery officials have not come to a finalized version of regulations for what type of bets will be available to customers at launch, but experts believe that the state will approve some form of in-game betting, over and under wagers, and parlays.
Although the launch date has not been set, we know that wagers will be allowed inside a licensed establishment via a kiosk or cellphone app. Once an establishment receives their license, lottery officials will be in charge of installing equipment such as kiosks and betting windows and will train the establishment’s staff, retail operators and players on how to operate them for placing bets.
Betting in Montana will be run through the Lottery, where the company, Intralot, has been operating the state’s lottery operations since 2015. Four years into a seven-year deal, Intralot will fold sports betting under their umbrella and run the day-to-day operation for the Lottery Commission.
“The current contract is in place and forward-looking and provides for sports wagering, and it’s our intention to work with our current vendor,” said Angela Wong, the state lottery director. “We’re having legal review that again. We recognize that we are in the very early stages of our public process.”
Much like in the Washington D.C. City Council scandal with Intralot, the gaming company’s contract in Montana also came under scrutiny from outside lobbyists.
“These companies have more experience in the United States sports-betting market than Intralot does, and we feel that in order to obtain the best provider for Montana, the lottery needs to go through the full (bid) process,” said Ronda Wiggers of the Montana Coin Machine Operators Association.
The Lottery Commission tabled the debate over Intralot and no further action has occurred to this point, leaving Intralot’s contract intact and valid.
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