Sports betting in Montana is legal with mobile betting available, though that comes with a bit of a caveat.
Sports betting officially launched through the Montana Lottery in March 2020, shortly before all major US sports shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The only legal option for sports betting in the state is through the lottery and the platform operated by Intralot. Intralot was awarded the contract without a public bidding process as the Greek company currently is the Montana Lottery’s supplier.
Sports bettors are limited to maximum bets of $250 at a kiosk or $1,000 on the website.
Sports betting apps in Montana
Since sports betting is operated as a monopoly under the Montana Lottery, there’s just one app in the state: Sports Bet Montana.
The app doesn’t work like sports betting apps in most other states, however. You cannot truly bet from anywhere within Montana.
Mobile sports betting in Montana is limited to on-property mobile betting. That means bettors have to be within the geofenced footprint of a retail sports betting outlet to bet on their phone.
Recent Montana sports betting and DFS stories
Legal betting options in Montana
Bettors will have to visit a retail sports betting site to legally bet on sports in Montana. That includes even if the bettor intends to bet on their phone.
When not at a retail location, the website can still be used to create an account, deposit and withdraw funds, set limits and prepare betslips.
Sports Bet Montana is available in establishments that are lottery retailers that also have alcohol licenses. The lottery expects as many as 2,000 of these locations to be licensed and offering sports betting this year. Licensed retail locations can be found on the Sports Bet Montana website.
Once at a retail sports betting location, Montana sports bettors will have access to many standard bets:
- Money line
- Points spread
- Total or over/under
- Proposition bets
- In-game betting
There are other websites that will claim they can offer online betting throughout the state of Montana. These websites are offshore sports betting operators and are not licensed to offer their services anywhere in the United States.
Betting with these websites leaves the bettors open to risks. There are absolutely no consumer protections for anyone betting on these sites, meaning if winnings are not paid out, there’s no legal recourse to get that cash.
And the websites, since they are not licensed in the US, can basically treat customers however they choose. Offshore sports betting operators have been known to not pay out winning bets and to close the website’s operations without returning funds.
How online betting works in Montana
Online betting is technically legal, but it does not work the same way as other states, like New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
To bet online, bettors still have to be at a licensed sports betting retail facility. The bettors’ mobile phone will show them as on location, which will let them place bets through the geofenced online operations.
The website still has uses when the bettor isn’t at a licensed facility, though. Bettors can create their accounts, deposit and withdraw funds, set their bet limits and also create their betting slips.
That makes betting easier once the bettor actually gets on location to submit their tickets.
Live betting in Montana
In-play betting is available in Montana via the Sports Bet Montana app.
Some of the options currently available on Sports Bet Montana for soccer include betting on the team that will score the next goal betting on the over/under and predicting the exact score.
In-play betting options will vary by sport.
Most popular sports to bet on in Montana
Legal sports wagering is still relatively new in the state, but Montana will probably be like the vast majority of other states and prefer football over all other sports.
There are no professional sports teams in Montana, however. And Sports Bet Montana may not offer wagering on the state’s top two college football programs.
That’s because the Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State Bobcats, the two Division I schools in the state, actually play at the FCS level for football. Betting is often limited to the FBS level. Currently, Sports Bet Montana only shows futures bets for the FBS level.
Basketball is another popular sport in the state of Montana. And the Grizzlies and Bobcats do have Division I basketball programs for both men and women.
Montana and daily fantasy sports
Montana is one of the few states that does not allow anyone within the state to take part in daily fantasy sports tournaments.
That means the popular games offered by DraftKings and FanDuel are unavailable to Montana residents.
Interestingly, the Montana Lottery actually does offer fantasy football and racing games of its own.
The games pay out 73% of ticket sales for the prize pool with first place taking 50%, second taking 30% and third taking 20%.
Is horse racing legal in Montana?
Yes, horse racing is legal in Montana.
The Great Falls Turf Club is the only active horse track in Montana, though its 2020 race meet was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Betting on horse racing is also legal in Montana. The state has six off-track betting facilities operated by Montana Simulcast Racing that operate year-round.
Montana sports betting timeline
2020: Sports betting finally went live in March at more than 100 retail establishments. The website, Sports Bet Montana, also launched simultaneously, though it is only available when on-site at a retailer.
2019: Gov. Steve Bullock made Montana the first state to legalize betting in 2019 when he signed the bill in May.
Bullock approved HB 725, which gave control of sports betting to the state lottery. He vetoed SB 330, which would have created more competition by allowing taverns and bars to offer their own sports betting options.
Montana sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Montana?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Montana. Anyone of legal age can place a bet on sports in the state.
Where can I bet on sports in Montana?
Montana legalized sports betting in March 2020 through its lottery with Intralot as the supplier. It authorized retail sports betting at licensed lottery retailers with alcohol licenses around the state. There could be as many as 2,000 authorized retailers by the end of 2020.
Bettors can also bet at the Sports Bet Montana website, though it is only available while at a retail betting site.
Can I bet on sports on my phone in Montana?
Yes, sports betting through a mobile phone is legal in Montana, but it’s not as wide open as other states.
Bettors can only submit a bet at Sports Bet Montana when they are physically located at a sports betting retail location. The website is geofenced to operate in those locations only.
The website can be accessed while not at those locations for various purposes. That includes creating an account, depositing and withdrawing funds, setting bet limits and creating bet slips.