Montana Lottery approves rules for sports betting

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This Sept. 5, 2019 photo shows people checking the sports betting odds boards at Bally's casino in Atlantic City N.J. New Jersey's sports betting industry set another new monthly state record in October 2019 with $487 million wagered on games.(AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

The Montana Lottery Commission on Thursday approved a draft of rules that will legalize sports wagering in Montana.

The commission approved the rules unanimously. Once the Office of the Montana Secretary of State publishes the rules on Dec. 6, Montana Lottery will begin taking applications for licenses.

There were a few minor changes to the rules following the public comment period, but nothing significant, said Jennifer McKee, communications manager for the Montana Lottery.

“We were able to work through any concerns people had,” McKee said.

The Lottery also announced a name for the new sports-wagering product – Sports Bet Montana.

Only establishments with full liquor licenses and gambling licenses – such as certain cars, casinos and taverns – will be eligible to apply for sports-wagering licenses. Participants will be able to place their bets on kiosks or via a smartphone application, but only when they are present at the establishment.

McKee said the Lottery “doesn’t really know what to expect” when licenses become available, such as how many vendors will apply and how long the application process will take. The Lottery cannot provide a timeline for when people might be able to place their first bets.

Gov. Steve Bullock signed a House bill on May 3 to legalize sports wagering and put the Lottery in charge of implementing sports betting in Montana. Bullock vetoed a Senate bill that would have let private companies offer competing sports-betting products.

Online gambling remains illegal in Montana.

Reporter Colin Gaiser may be reached at 758-4439 or cgaiser@dailyinterlake.com

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