Montana Sports Wagering Laws
Montana is one of the few states in the US that actually mentions Internet gambling in its statutes, which can be found in Title 23 of the Montana Code (§ 23-5-112 et seq.). “Internet gambling” is considered by MT to be an “illegal gambling enterprise.” The state has a unique system where, by law, if a form of gambling isn’t explicitly approved by name in the state code, it is deemed unlawful. “Sports betting” (minus approved tab and pool offerings) is classified by name as unlawful under the above regulatory framework.
That said, there is an important caveat to consider here: Montana defines “gambling enterprise” in § 23-5-112(15) as an “activity, scheme, or agreement to provide gambling or a gambling device to the public.” In other words, while the law as presented by many outlets seems to indicate that online gambling and sports wagering are unlawful, this actually only applies to operators of Internet-based gambling houses and sportsbooks. As an individual bettor using any such services, you are not breaking a single state or federal law. The upshot is that wherever you wager, you are doing so legally. If you were so inclined, you could even use a local black market bookie, though that is absolutely not recommended. To be safe, you should always send your wagers overseas to only the most reputable sportsbook services. For more information on the history of Montana gambling in general, the state has an official timeline here.
The Legality Of Sports Betting In Montana
Land-based sports betting of a very limited type is currently available in Montana. The state has offered these sports tab and sports pool wagers (which are more akin to bingo and lottery games than actual sports betting) for the better part of 30 years. Single-game – aka “Vegas-style” – sports betting is unfortunately illegal to be offered in MT, and the state cannot issue sports betting licenses until the law itself is changed to allow it. The same goes for online betting and gambling.
Fortunately, at least some state legislators are getting with the times, as the House and Senate are both considering sports betting legalization measures at this time. In the House, HB 475 (sponsored by Brad Tschida, R-97) would allow pari-mutuel licensees to offer sports betting products. In the Senate, SB 25 (sponsored by Mark Blasdel, R-4) is much broader in scope, expanding gambling throughout the state and allowing sports wagering to be offered by any “licensed entities,” not just horse racing betting vendors. It is currently unknown how much support either bill has.
All that said, it doesn’t matter that much, since you can legally use an offshore betting site. Given that it is already not a criminal act for an individual bettor to wager on sports in the state, these sites are effectively also legal. This is because they operate outside of the scope of the US legal system and are entirely under the sole legal jurisdiction of their home countries. As long as the US doesn’t have an active trade embargo against the country where your sportsbook of choice is based, you are perfectly eligible to use that site to place real-money wagers and receive real-money payouts.
Where To Legally Wager On Sports In Montana
There are currently no venues where you can legally wager on sports in Montana, and there is considerable debate among those looking at new legislation of where exactly such services and products would be allowed. Montana has no commercial casino facilities, but it does have 13 tribal casinos, 145 card room venues, and nearly 1500 electronic gaming device locations. It makes sense that once sports wagering is legalized, it will show up at the tribal casinos first, with a larger rollout to the other locations later.
Online sports betting legalization also seems inevitable, though again, you don’t need access to a domestic book to safely bet over the Internet if you use an offshore solution. Once sports wagering is legalized in MT, the following Class III casino locations should be among the first to offer the pastime to residents and visitors.
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Legal Age To Bet On Sports In Montana
In Montana, you only have to be 18 to gamble at any of the state’s Class II or III tribal casinos, card rooms, or electronic gaming kiosks. As such, this will likely be the legal age at which you’ll be able to bet on sports once the state legalizes them. 18 is also the minimum age you must be in order to sign up at any of the top-ranked offshore sportsbooks that accept MT customers. A word of warning, however: Never gamble underage at offshore sports betting sites, as this is a violation of their terms of service. While not illegal, this will result in your account being terminated and your funds being confiscated.
Montana Sports Betting FAQ's
Will I Go To Jail For Betting On Sports In Montana?
No. It is not against the law to wager on sports in Montana, so there is no reason you would ever be arrested or fined for doing so. Offshore sportsbooks are safe and secure to use for all Montana residents aged 18 and older. Legality notwithstanding, using local black market bookies is definitely not recommended.
How Can I Deposit Money Into My Account If My Credit Or Debit Card Is Rejected?
If you try to deposit money into your offshore sportsbook of choice and find that the debit or credit transaction is blocked, don’t worry. Your card still works, and you simply need to use a different card or payment method. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are recommended above all, but most sites offer a number of deposit options.
What Sports Can I Bet On At Montana Betting Sites?
You can wager on pretty much any sport you can think of when you use an offshore sportsbook to place your bets. These sites carry NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, NASCAR, golf, tennis, soccer, rugby, cricket, and combat sports options, just to name a few.
Do Montana Sportsbooks Offer Mobile Sports Betting Apps?
Sort of. Instead of apps that you download from the App Store or Google Play, online sportsbooks have made mobile-optimized website portals that offer a full desktop experience in the palm of your hand. These sports betting “web apps” are accessible through your iPhone or Android browser, and there is no need to ever download or update anything.
What Is Live Betting?
Live betting, also commonly called in-game betting, is a new development that allows bettors to put money on dynamic odds that update in real-time during the games themselves. This way, you can bet on any aspect of the game as the game unfolds, making it the most immersive way to wager. All the best offshore Montana sportsbooks offer live betting via their mobile portals, too.
Can I Use Multiple Online Sportsbook Accounts In Montana?
You can and you should. Having accounts across several books is the best way to quickly and conveniently shop lines and maximize your potential payouts. Just make sure that you only register a single account at any given site, as duplicate accounts violate their TOS and will cause you to be permanently banned.
Montana Horse Racing Betting
In Montana, horse racing and horse racing betting (pari-mutuel betting) are legal, though there aren’t any formal tracks in the state. Instead, the horseplaying industry in MT is primarily predicated on simulcast betting at off-track betting (OTB) sites. There are approximately 1500 licensed locations offering horse racing betting terminals and services throughout the state. You can find all of the Montana Code’s horse racing betting rules and regulations in § 23-4, and you can get up to speed on the current state of the industry here.
For fans of the ponies who actually want to see live racing, there isn’t much to choose from. That said, Montana usually has a few days of horse racing featured at one (or both) of its major annual fairs. During the Montana State Fair in late summer, “Montana Downs” is sometimes operational at the Montana Expo Park in Great Falls. The Montana Fair Billings also occasionally offers horse racing action, though this is not assured every year. (Though it isn’t horse racing, Montana hosts the renowned Miles City Bucking Horse Sale – the “Cowboy Mardi Gras” – every year in mid-May.)
Daily Fantasy Sports Options In Montana
Daily fantasy sports – aka DFS – is considered illegal in Montana, and none of the large operators will accept players from the state. Because DFS companies like FanDuel and DraftKings use geo-fencing technology to make sure their customers are physically located in states they serve, even someone from a state where DFS is legal will not be able to access or adjust their lineups while visiting Montana. This is likely a major consideration for a large number of potential visitors to the state, given how immensely popular DFS is.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in the MT legislature to legalize or authorize DFS any time soon, either. Because offshore sportsbooks do not offer DFS products, this is basically the one type of mainstream gambling that you simply cannot easily access in the state. Hopefully, the MT state government will recognize that DFS is a product that their residents want and legalize it within the next couple of years (though movement towards that in 2019 is already off the table). In the meantime, major operators like the aforementioned do allow MT residents to sign up and play DFS contests for fun, with no money allowed. Given that daily fantasy sports should be available in Montana sometime in the medium term future, this will at least allow you to get a season or two of practice under your belt.