HELENA – Betting on your favorite team is now legal in Montana.
Governor Steve Bullock signed a bill into law Friday allowing sports wagering in the state. Montana becomes the ninth state to permit sports betting and the seventh since a Supreme Court decision last year opened the floodgates for states to make their own decisions.
The Montana legislature overwhelmingly supported two bills on sports gambling. Bullock signed House Bill 725, which allows the Montana Lottery commission to set up and run sports wagering in the state. The bill, sponsored by representative Ryan Lynch, a democrat from Butte, states, “the operation of sports wagering and ancillary activities are lawful activities in the state of Montana when conducted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and rules of the commission.” HB725 passed through the house with a 90-10 vote and then through the senate 34-16, carrying bi-partisan support all the way to the governor’s desk.
Bullock vetoed a Senate Bill, which would have given establishments such as bars and casinos the right to set up their own sports books. SB330 was sponsored by senator Mark Blasdel, a republican from Kalispell. It also received overwhelming bi-partisan support, passing the senate 33-17 and the house 90-9.
The Montana Lottery has up to a year to implement sports betting around the state. Legislators estimated it would raise $1.5-2 million in revenue for the state’s general fund, and another $3-4 million for a school scholarship fund.