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Bullock signs bill to make sports betting legal in Montana

Posted: 10:17 AM, May 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-05 12:17:10-04

HELENA – Within a year, sports betting on professional and collegiate athletics will be available in Montana.

Gov. Steve Bullock signed HB725, an act generally revising lottery laws to authorize sports wagering, into law on Friday.

The law allows the Montana State Lottery to arrange with its current contractor to offer sports betting at locations that already permit gambling.

Bettors will have to gamble within establishments that have machines selling lottery tickets already — usually found in taverns or bars.

Sports betting is estimated to raise $1.5 to $2 million in revenue to the state’s general fund and another $3 to $4 million for a school scholarship fund for science and technology learning.

With the bill signed, the Montana Lottery has up to a year to implement it across the state.

Athletes, coaches, team staff, team owners, and referees are all prohibited from making wagers.

The governor vetoed a second bill, SB330, that would have put sports wagering under the Montana Department of Justice’s Gambling Control Division.

-John Riley reporting for MTN News