As we’ve tracked many different states in the final stages of legalizing sports betting like Indiana sports betting and sports betting in Iowa, Montana decided to jump over all of them to become the first state to sign legal sports betting bill into law.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock put his John Hancock on House Bill 725, which not only legalizes sports betting in Montana but also opens the door for Montana online sports betting. Montana joined a list of states that have legalized sports betting, including:
Montana also joins a smaller group of states that offer or will offer online sports betting in the US, including:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia (on hold)
- Rhode Island (coming soon)
- Indiana (coming soon)
- Mississippi (coming soon)
- Delaware (expected soon)
Indiana sports betting and online sports betting in IN were also legalized shortly after the news of legal Montana sports betting, as well as Iowa sports betting and Tennessee sports betting.
Gov. Bullock Picked Democrat-Led House Montana Sports Betting Bill Instead of Republican-Led Senate Sports Betting In Montana Bill
Montana Gov. Bullock received two versions of MT sports betting bills for him to possibly sign into law: House Bill 725, championed by Democratic Representative Ryan Lynch, and Senate Bill 303, introduced by Republican Senator Mark Blasdel. Ultimately, Gov. Bullock chose the House Bill to sign into law to legalize sports betting in Montana and vetoed the Senate Bill.
Gov. Bullock sent a letter to Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, explaining the reasons why he chose HB 725 over SB 303. Gov. Bullock cited the desire to have Intralot, who provides Montana with the state’s lottery, to oversee Montana sports betting as well as Montana online sports betting. Having the state’s lottery have control over sports betting in Montana is similar to how DC sports betting is run, after legal sports betting in DC was enacted in late 2018.
Montana Sports Betting Tax Revenue Is Estimated To Bring Millions To The State In Its First Year
Estimates by the Montana State Lottery predict that MT sports betting will bring in tax revenue of $3.7 million in the first year of having legal sports betting in Montana. This is based off an 8.5 percent tax rate on gross revenue, as well as a projection of a total handle of $65 million for the first year of action. As Montana sports betting and Montana online sports betting becomes more popular in the state, estimated tax revenue projections increase to $5.4 million the following year.
Helping those projections is a measure that was added to the House Bill that allows for Montana sports betting kiosks that can be placed in certain restaurants and bars. The Montana Tavern Association backed this measure strongly, seeing an opportunity for an increase in business as a result of legal sports betting in Montana.