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That status could be set to change thanks to a new legislative effort from Rep. Forest Mandeville (HB 181) aimed at easing some of the restrictions that currently prohibit Montana residents from playing fantasy sports online.
Full bill text here.
Mandeville offered a brief comment on the bill via Twitter:
— Forrest Mandeville (@TheRealForrestM) January 10, 2015
In simple terms: Montana is one of a handful of “any chance” states that defines gambling as risking a thing of value on an outcome that involves any chance.
From the Montana Code:
(13) (a) “Gambling” or “gambling activity” means risking any money, credit, deposit, check, property, or other thing of value for a gain that is contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device or gambling enterprise.
That’s in contrast to two other common standards used to define gambling in state law – “material degree” of chance, where chance plays not just any role, but a substantial one, and “dominant factor,” where the majority of the outcome is determined by chance.
Mandeville’s bill came the same week as an attempt to regulate some types of online fantasy sports play in Indiana.
And the two states are unlikely to be the last to address the issue before the year is out.
Several industry sources told me that lobbying efforts in a number of states – especially those with perceived restrictions on one-day fantasy sports – has ramped up dramatically in recent months.
The five most-typically-blocked states – Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Washington State – have a combined population of roughly 22 million.