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Montana sports-betting bill passes through Senate committee

Posted at 2:02 PM, Mar 25, 2019

(Editor’s note: Report by MTN’s Mike Dennison)

HELENA – A bill to legalize sports betting in Montana has passed out of a Senate committee.

The Senate Business and Labor Committee voted eight-to-two on Friday to send the bill to the Senate floor.

The bill establishes licenses and permit fees for sportsbook operators and taxes gross betting receipts at 8.5 percent.

A fiscal note on the original bill estimated it would raise $2 million in taxes in 2021 and $3.5 million by the next year.

Supporters of the bill said sports betting already occurs on the black market in Montana, and that it’s time to get it out of the dark and regulated. Opponents on the committee said expanding gambling in Montana is not a good idea and will be another way to drain people’s incomes.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Mark Blasdel, R-Kalispell.