Montana businesses are ready to pull the trigger on sports gambling. 142 entities have received their licenses from the Montana Lottery Commission (MLC), the state’s chosen sports gambling manager, and are now waiting for the green light to begin accepting bets. However, the MLC isn’t quite ready to flip the switch. It is still putting the final touches on the necessary infrastructure, but hopes to have everything ready to go by next Monday.
Local media outlet KULR8 reports that the MLC is “still installing” the infrastructure and ensuring that all workers tied to the state’s sports gambling operations receive the necessary training on Montana’s Sports Bet Montana gambling kiosks. Any qualified property in the state that wants to offer sports wagers has to be trained on the kiosks before the license is issued.
As opposed to most states, Montana took a different, and more than a little controversial, approach when it decided to legalize sports gambling. Any business with a liquor license can install a Sports Bet Montana kiosk, which means that more than 1,400 businesses across the state are eligible to operate as a sportsbook if approved for a license.
In addition to the kiosks, sports gambling fans can also place their wagers online, and this could become the preferred method, as has been seen in other states. The online sports gambling app only works at one of the Sports Bet Montana locations, meaning no wagers while sitting on the sofa munching on chips and salsa, but the mobile app allows bets of up to $1,000. The in-store kiosks have a limit of $250 per wager.
If the MLC is able to get all the pieces in place this week and launch Sports Bet Montana by next Monday, gamblers will be able to participate in the upcoming March Madness championship series in NCAA men’s basketball. This would be a huge win for the sportsbooks and the state, as the tournament is always a favorite with sports gambling fans. March Madness is set to get underway on March 17.
In addition to college sports, virtually all professional sports action is eligible for gambling. So far, there are no plans to limit the types of bets offered, either, which means gamblers will see the entire gambit of normal offerings – moneylines, spreads, futures, prop bets and more.
The limitation that forces the gambling app to be made available only at licensed locations may seem like a deterrent at first, but things will work out in the long run. Billings is going to have 21 licenses, Missoula has 12, Butte and Great Falls will each have ten and the state capital of Helena has nine. All of these cities are fairly spread out across the country. Once more licenses are approved, there will be even more options, capturing a larger portion of the available sports gambling revenue.