Montana Sports Betting Bills Are Increasing Momentum

  • Montana Sports Betting Bills Are Increasing MomentumDiscussions in a State House committee included MT HB 725, a sports betting bill.
  • A Senate committee voted to move MT SB 330 to the main Senate Floor.
  • Both bills are gaining momentum in their respective chambers.

HELENA, Mont. – Sports betting in Montana is gaining traction as bills are moving forward in the State’s Congress.

For two weeks straight, Montana legislators have heard testimony and held discussions about legalizing sports betting the Treasure State. The House Business and Labor Affairs committee held a discussion on MT HB 725 on Tuesday.

Details Of The House Bill

MT HB 725 was introduced by representative Ryan Lynch last week. The bill states that sports betting will be operated and regulated through the Montana Lottery. Sportsbooks will be provided through kiosks in many retail locations. These locations include bars, restaurants, and convenience stores. There will also be limited internet and mobile sports betting.

The House bill also lays out how sports betting will be taxed as well. Sports betting receipts will be hit with an 8.5 percent tax rate. One of the more interesting things is what the Lottery plans to do with the money. Montana State Lottery Director Angela Wong said that the state of Montana would “receive all the revenue [on sports betting] after expenses.”

This means that the lottery will not receive a cut on sports betting and that has not been done in any state with legalized sports wagering. This will help lawmakers reach their fiscal goals. A fiscal note on the bill estimated that sports betting will generate $2 million in taxes in 2021 and $3.6 million by 2022.

Senate Bill Is Very Similar

Last week, the Senate Business and Labor Committee held a hearing for a similar sports betting bill. MT SB 330 aims to accomplish the same things that HB 725 has set out to do. The difference between the two is that the Senate bill will have Montana’s Department of Justice to regulate sports betting.

Montana would be the first state in the country to allow a government branch to regulate sports betting. Other than who would regulate sports betting, both bills are very similar on the other details.

The Senate bill passed in the committee last week with an 8-2 vote. Now MT SB 330 will head to the main Senate floor. No date has been set to when the bill will receive a vote from the Senate.

With no casinos in Montana, it seems like the focus will be providing kiosks in retail locations. But, it is unclear what limited internet and mobile wagering will look like if either of these bills ends up passing.

Both of these bills need all the momentum they can get because the time to pass sports betting in Montana is ending soon. Montana’s current legislative session ends on April 20 and they will not reconvene until 2021. Montana does not have a legislative session in 2020, so time is of the essence to legalize sports betting in the Treasure State.

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