Currently, in theory, sports betting in Montana is legal, and that includes mobile betting, but there is a caveat attached to it.
Officially, sports betting in Montana was launched in March 2020 through the Montana Lottery, just before the shutdown of all major US sports due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
In Montana, the only way to legally bet on sports is via the state lottery and the platform that is operated by Intralot. Intralot was given the contract without any public bidding process because the Greek company is currently the state’s lottery supplier.
Montana sports bettors are limited to maximum wagers of either $250 at a kiosk or $1000 if placed online.
Montana Sports Betting Apps
Because currently sports betting in Montana is operated as a Monopoly under the Montana Lottery, there is only one app available to bet on in the state, Sports Bet Montana.
This app doesn’t work like standard sports betting apps available in other US states, which means that it doesn’t work in the same way as it does in other states.
As such, mobile sports betting in Montana is now limited to on-property mobile wagers. This means that bettors are required to be within a geofenced footprint of a retail sportsbook to place a bet on your mobile.
Legal Sports Betting Options in Montana
Although mobile betting is available in the Montana state, Montana bettors will have to visit a retail sports betting venue to legally place bets on sports. This is even the case if they want to make their bet on mobile.
If you aren’t at a retail location, you can still use the mobile sports betting app to register a new account, deposit money, withdraw winnings, prepare bet slips and set limits.
Sports Bet Montana is available in any establishment in which a lottery retailer also has an alcohol license. It is expected that up to 2,000 locations will be able to offer licensed sports betting by the end of the year. You can keep updated about licensed retail locations on the Sports Bet Montana website.
If you are at a retail sportsbook, then there are a variety of different types of bets you can make:
- Moneyline bets
- Totals – over/under
- Points spread bets
- Props bets
- In-game bets
In addition to the Sports Bet Montana website, other websites claim to offer online sports betting in the state. These are offshore betting sites. However, these have not been licensed to offer sports betting anywhere in the US, so these wagers are not legal.
As such, if you place bets on these sites then you are leaving yourself open to risks. Anyone betting on these sites will have no protection. This means that if they refuse to pay out your winnings then you will have no legal recourse.
As these websites are not licensed and regulated in the US, they have no obligation to treat customers in a fair or transparent way. Illegal offshore sports betting sites have earned a reputation for not paying out winnings and closing operations without returning a player’s money.
How Montana Online Betting Works
Montana sports betting technically allows for online betting, but it doesn’t work in the same way as other states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In order to enjoy online sports betting, Montana bettors actually have to be at a licensed sports betting facility. They will have to have their mobile with geolocation turned on, which will show whether or not they are on location.
However, the betting app can still be used when not at a licensed facility. The bettor can create an account, deposit money, withdraw funds, set betting limits and create a betslip from anywhere.
This means that it is quicker and easier to submit their ticker and place their sports wagering bet when on location.
Live Betting in Montana
Montana sports betting also includes In-Play betting via the Sports Bet Montana app.
There will be live bet options such as which team will score the next goal, under and over bets, exact score predictions etc. However, the in-play betting options will very much depend on what sport you are betting on.
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Montana
Montana sports betting and legal sports wagering is still pretty new, but it is likely that the state will follow the rest of the US and make the NFL its preferred sport for betting.
There aren’t any major professional sports teams in Montana, however, and the Sports Bet Montana doesn’t offer wagering on the two top college football programs in the state.
This is mainly because the Montana State Bobcats and the Montana Grizzlies – the state’s two Division I schools actually play at the FCS level and college betting is often limited to FBS level. At the moment, the Sports Bet Montana app will only show futures for FBS level events.
Another popular sport in the state of Montana is basketball, and the Bobcats and Grizzlies have Division I basketball programs for males and females.
Montana Daily Fantasy Sports
Unlike many other states within the US, Montana does not legally allow anyone to take part in Daily Fantasy Sports betting tournaments. This means that DFS offered on sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings are not currently available in the state.
However, in line with its apparent monopoly in the state, the Montana Lottery actually offers fantasy football and racing games itself. These games pay out 73% of their ticket sales for the prize pool. First place will take 50% of the pool, second place takes 30% and third place takes 20%
Legal Horse Racing in Montana
Horse racing betting is legal in Montana. However, it only has one active horse race track, which is the Great Falls Turf Club. The only 2020 race meet here was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Both horse racing and betting on horse racing is legal in Montana and there are six off-track betting facilities in the state, all operated by the Montana Simulcast Racing that operate throughout the year.
Montana residents can also place bets in horse racing through advance deposit betting accounts, with the biggest operators being TwinSpires and TVG available in the state.
Montana Sports Betting Timeline
State Governor, Steve Bullock made Montana the first state to legalize sports betting after signing the bill in May 2019.
He approved bill HB 725, which gave control of sports betting to the Montana state lottery. He then vetoed SB 330 which would have allowed for more competition by allowing bars and taverns to offer their own sports gambling options.
In March of 2020, sports betting went live at over 100 retail venues. That month also saw the launch of the Sports Bet Montana website, though only available when situated at an on-site retailer.
Montana Sports Teams to Bet on
Although Montana doesn’t have teams playing in any of the major US sports leagues, they do have a couple of teams that compete in the NCAA.
The Montana Grizzlies have remained reasonably consistent throughout their history, having reached the NCAA Division I knockouts in 22 of the past 28 seasons, Montana has also won the Big Sky Conference several times in recent years also.
Currently, you can bet on all of the Grizzlies games this season – whether or not you have faith that they can win the Big Sky Conference or NCAA title.
Montana State Bobcats
In their history, the Bobcats have won the Big Sky Conference 18 times, most recently in 2012. You can wager on every Bobcat game this season – even if you don’t think they will have another Big Sky Conference win.
Montana Sports Betting FAQ
Is Sports Betting Legal in Montana?
Yes, sports betting officially launched in Montana in March 2020. Anyone over 21 can legally place a sports bet in the state.
Where Can I Bet on Sports in Montana?
When legalizing sports betting, the state launched it through its state lottery, making Intralot its supplier. It has authorized sports betting at lottery retailers that are licensed to sell alcohol. Montana legalized sports betting also via the Sports Bet Montana website.
Can I Bet on Sports on Mobile in Montana?
Yes, you can bet on mobile in Montana, but it is not as widely available as in other US states as the best sports betting sites don’t operate within the state.
There is only one website in Montana that will offer sports betting and players can only make a bet on the Sports Bet Montana website if they are physically present at a sports betting retail venue. Although the website can be accessed if not at one of these venues – such as creating an account, managing their account and preparing a sports bet slip, it cannot be used to make a bet unless you are physically located at a retail sports betting establishment.
What Sports Can I Bet on in Montana?
There is a decent sports wagering market in the state and numerous sports you can bet on in Montana such as NFL, NBA, NHL, MBL, tennis, cycling, F1 and more.