Just this past Friday, both the Montana Senate and House approved separate bills that both lead towards legalized sports betting within the state. Although their bills differ in who oversees the gambling, they both agree on legalizing sports betting in Montana.
Back in 1992, Congress passed a ban on sports betting. At that time, Montana was one of four states that held host to gambling on sports, with the other three being Nevada, Delaware, and Oregon. With a history of participating in sports betting, it might seem a bit of a mystery why the state hasn’t legalized it yet since the lift of the sports betting ban last year.
The reason for this is quite simple – Montana currently plays host to many marquee college sports events, including championship games. When considering continuing to participate in sports betting, Montana stopped short when the NCAA threatened to stop holding important games within the state.
Now that more states are opting to legalize sports betting, Montana has decided to ignore the past threats of the NCAA and move forward with steps towards legalization. The biggest of these steps coming this past Friday, when both the Montana Senate and house approved separate bills concerning sports betting within the state.
The Montana House approved a bill by the vote of 90-10 that would make the Montana Lottery responsible for sports gambling, while the Senate approved another bill by the vote of 33-16 that would place the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ) in charge.
Although the bills call for oversight by different groups, they both agree that sports betting will benefit Montana. To further support that, the Fiscal Report for the state indicated that legalizing sports betting would generate more than $1 million in revenue strictly from taxes.
Although both bills have been approved by votes right now, they still must both be approved by another round of voting to be fully passed. Either way, it is a great indicator of things to come for sports betting in Montana. Even though it seems unlikely, if neither bill gets passed in the next round of voting, there is still a good likelihood we’ll see legalized sports betting in Montana within the near future. Both the House and Senate recognize the potential for it within the state, which is certainly good for it’s prospects going forward.