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  • Land Based Gambling

    Live Dealer Games
    Casino
    Regulated Since: 1994
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Sports Betting
    Regulated Since: 1973
    Gambling Age: 18
    Live Dealer Games
    Poker
    Regulated Since: 1973
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Bingo
    Regulated Since: 1973
    Gambling Age: 18
    Live Dealer Games
    Lottery
    Regulated Since: 1986
    Gambling Age: 18
    Live Dealer Games
    Horse Racing
    Regulated Since: 1967
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Dog Racing
    Regulated Since: 1964
    Gambling Age: 21

    Online Gambling

    Live Dealer Games
    Online Casino
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Sports Betting
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Poker
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Bingo
    Live Dealer Games
    eSports Betting
    Live Dealer Games
    DFS
    Regulated Since: 0
    Gambling Age: 0

    Overview

    The United States of America offers some interesting laws and regulations regarding gambling. Each state has the opportunity to decide which forms of gambling they want legal or illegal. Montana is one of the states with the most unique gambling laws in the US.

    You will find that this state is not as open to gambling as neighbouring states. While land-based casinos have been welcomed the state has made an effort to keep the iGaming industry at bay. Interestingly enough Montana is home to many gambling establishments including poker bars and other gambling venues. The first ‘casinos’ were essentially bars with gambling activities taking place inside. This includes offering poker and video lotteries as well as some off-track betting activities.

    Today there are several regulated gambling activities in the state which includes Bingo, Poker, Sports Pools, Video Keno, Video Lottery, Lottery, Tribal Casinos and Lottery Fantasy Pools. More traditional forms of gambling, however, have been kept out of this state. It does make for an interesting offering allowing locals and visitors to enjoy a unique offering in the state.

    When it comes to online gambling you will find that horse racing is the only legalised option available. Over the years there has been some effort to legalise more options but all have failed. The authorities have gone the extra mile to increase regulations and tighten laws on online gambling operations in the state. In recent years they made it impossible for operators to run sites within the state.
    There is no telling what the future holds for online gambling in this state as authorities are more forces on land-based gambling activities. It could be quite some time before any online gambling activities are allowed here.

    In Montana, drinking and gambling are activities that go hand in hand which is why you’ll find several bars offering gambling activities on site. While Montana is considered an anti-gambling state this is inaccurate as the residents in this state adore gambling activities.
    One of the biggest obstacles for the gambling industry is a small population in the state which means smaller gambling revenues each year. Some might argue that legalising online gambling could potentially bring in larger revenue for the state. Currently, there is no legislation in play or planning to bring this notion to life. 


    Regulation

    Montana is one of the states in the US that went from completely banning all forms of gambling to slowly bringing back legalised gambling activities. Their previous constitution banning all forms of gambling from the 1880s was only overturned in 1933. From there many new gambling venues started popping up throughout the state with the change in law allowing for the promotion and advertising of gambling. The allowance for such advertisement was a first in this state quickly making gambling activities popular. In 1937 table games were briefly legalised and during this time many slot machines started appearing in bars.

    In 1950 there was another vote to illegalize gambling due to the increased gambling addictions in the state. This was however outvoted and gambling remained legal. The only form of gambling that was declared illegal under the state constitution by the Montana Supreme Court was slot machines.

    In 1972 the voters gave away their right to approve gambling and left it in the hands of the state legislature. The lawmakers then passed a bill legalising bingo, live poker and keno in 1973. Electric Keno was legalised in 1976.

    Then in 1980 Video Poker machines started popping up around the state and operators claimed it fell under the keno ruling. These machines were banned by the state Supreme Court in 1984. In 1985 Video Poker machines were legalized only a year after being banned by the state. Because of this, establishments were allowed to own five machines per venue and unlimited keno games could be found in licensed liquor venues. At this time video poker machines were only allowed to award a maximum payout of $100. The machines were also tax-free and a 15% tax got added to these machines in 1987.

    The state lottery was created in 1986 and the state only started gaming compacts with native tribes in 1994. Then in 1995, a new proposal is passed as House Bill 527. With this proposal, the payout on video poker machines is increased to $800 per machine. This caused a backlash from political groups and conservatives.

    Throughout the early 2000s, there were many attempts to create Montana Casinos offering table games. These kept failing, leaving Montana casinos with nothing but video lottery and poker games. And in 2005 all forms of online gambling was banned by the state. The only exception to the ban was horse racing.

    NFL daily fantasy sports cards were rolled out by the Montana Lottery in 2008 and NASCAR pools were added in 2009.
    And in 2016 the Buffalo Rivers Casino & Lodge opened its doors for the first time in the state. This is the biggest casino available in the state of Montana. Sports betting was legalised in the state in May 2019 with the passing of House bill 725. 

    Licensing

    In Montana gambling is a popular pastime enjoyed in most land-based establishments serving liquor. As such you will find that licensing is a strict requirement and authorities take this matter quite seriously.

    The Gambling Control Division of the Department of Justice is in charge of regulating all forms of gambling in Montana. The only forms of gambling they do not oversee is the Montana Lottery, sports betting and horse racing. The Division is in charge of ensuring that all regulated forms are fair and free from corruption. They also have to collect gambling revenue for state and local governments. By law, all business with gambling licenses must have an alcoholic beverage license before they can conduct certain gambling activities. This includes live card games, sports pool boards and video gambling machines. All licensed businesses adhere to strict rules and regulations to ensure gambling activities in the state operate fairly and smoothly at all times.

    Tribal Casinos are run by the native tribes but the Gambling Control Division works alongside these local tribal gaming agencies to enforce state-tribal compact agreements. At this time there are 20 tribal gaming facilities in Montana that offer Class II and Class III slot machines and poker rooms.

    All Lottery activities and sports betting activity is operated and run through the Montana Lottery Department. Sports Bet Montana is the new product that will be run by the Montana Lottery and terminals will be installed in licensed locations. Daily Fantasy Sports betting activities are also legal in the state but only when run through the Montana Lottery. Unlike other states, the Lottery Division in Montana has a lot of regulatory authority. And will oversee mobile sports betting activities on all licensed products too.

    The Montana Board of Horse Racing is in charge of regulating all live and simulcast horse racing in the state. They ensure that all licensees are compliant with state laws and board rules. The board is in charge of licensing all racing personnel, establishing race dates for various communities and more. The Montana Board of Horse Racing is funded by state special revenue derived from a 1% tax on gross receipts from pari-mutuel betting. 

    FAQ

    Is Online Gambling Legal in Montana?

    It is strictly illegal in this state to participate in online gambling. The only legal online gambling activities are sports bets.

    Is table games legal in the state of Montana?

    All table games have been deemed illegal in this state, this includes games such as Blackjack and the electronic versions of these games.

    Is there a state lottery in Montana?

    Yes, there is a state lottery which also covers the major inter-state games such as Mega Millions and Powerball.

    Is horse racing legal in Montana?

    Yes, it is completely legal with race books currently running at tracks and bars.

    Is poker legal in Montana?

    Yes, bars in the state are permitted to offer live poker games.

    Is there a limit on poker bets in Montana?

    No, you can enjoy limit free bets on poker games. There is a maximum pot size of $800.

    Are daily fantasy sports sites legal in Montana?

    Daily Fantasy Sports is only legal if it is offered by the state lottery. You won’t find your normal DFS sites in this state.

    What is the tax rate on Montana’s video lottery?

    All casinos have to pay 15% tax on video lottery machines and each casino can host up to 20 machines.

    What is the minimum gambling age in Montana?

    The minimum age requirement for gambling activities in the state is 18 years. Some video lottery and poker casinos require participants to be 21 or older.

    Is online sports betting legal in this state?

    Yes, sports betting is legally available in the state. 

    Casinos and Gambling Facilities in Montana

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