Montana mulls legal sports wagering in new bill

19 March 2019

Lawmakers in Montana are to consider a new bill that would legalise land-based, online and mobile sports betting in the state.

SB 330, also known as the Montana Sports Betting Act, is scheduled for a hearing with the Senate’s Business, Labour, and Economic Affairs Committee on March 19.

The bill sets out provisions for operators to offer an interactive sports wagering platform via a website or a mobile device to consumers located inside the premises of a licensed gambling facility.

Licences would cost an initial $1,000 (£754/€880), while operators would also need to pay an annual renewal fee of $1,000. Sports wagering licences would expire on June 30 of each year.

Operators that secure a licence would be permitted to work with a third-party in order to run a sports betting platform in the state. Such partnerships would be covered by an associated gambling business licence, which would permit the leasing of sports betting equipment, systems, or other items necessary to offer sports wagering.

All licensed sportsbook operators would be subject to a tax rate of 8.5% of their adjusted gross betting receipts, less winnings paid and payments to the federal government as federal excise tax.

For the privilege of conducting sports betting within the premises of a licensed gambling operator, a sportsbook operator would pay the venue 5% of the net sportsbook income derived from the premises. In addition, sportsbook operators would need to pay an annual fee of $100 for each kiosk place with a gambling operator.

The bill also sets out measures related to the responsible advertising of betting-related products and content across all media, the development and deployment of responsible gambling resources for consumers, as well as the mandatory monitoring and reporting of suspicious betting activity.

Montana joins eastern neighbours North Dakota and South Dakota among the many states that are weighing up sports betting regulation.

A bill in North Dakota remains under consideration, but South Dakota looks set to miss out on sports wagering this year after lawmakers voted down an amendment that would have allowed for regulated sports wagering in the state.