Montana Sports Betting Launches Without True Mobile Option

Montana Sports Betting Launches Without True Mobile Option
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The Montana sports betting program got underway on Wednesday at several locations, with about 180 locations expected to be activated by the end of the week, the Independent Record of Helena reported.

RELATED: More on Montana sports betting

The state is rolling out kiosks at licensed locations such as bars, gas stations and similar locations. But Montana — never a big market anyway with a population of barely a million spread out over 147,000 square miles — limited itself by running the operation through the state lottery and by not offering a true mobile sports betting market. Montana is the first state to offer sports betting solely through lottery-run physical locations.

No True Mobile Sports Betting Option

The Montana Lottery sports betting product is operated by Intralot. At the Sports Bet Montana app, bettors can register and deposit funds. However, bets can only be placed at a licensed retail location, according to the state’s website,

"It is a culmination of a lot of work since the legislation passed back in May. We have been working hard to build a new program and new product in Montana," state Lottery communications manager Jennifer McKee said, according to the Independent Record. "We've heard from a lot of people along the way about the kind of sports they want as betting, (what) kind of experience they want, we put all of that into Sports Bet Montana."

Montana bettors can wager on all of the major sports including college events, plus boxing, MMA, golf, auto racing and more. The maximum bet is $1,000 via the app and $250 at physical terminals.

Montana Sports Betting Law Background

Montana became the 17th jurisdiction able to take legal sports bets. All but Nevada have come on board in the past two years, since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which had banned sports betting.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed legislation to allow legal sports betting in May 2019; it was the first state that year to legalize the practice. But Montana was far slower than some other states to activate its product; states such as Indiana and Iowa passed legislation after Montana and launched their sports betting markets months ago.

The state announced last month the list of sports and types of bets that would be allowed.

"One of the unique things about Montana is that it's not destination gaming. It's meant to be used by Montanans wherever they are. You go to your favorite sports bar and you can place a bet," McKee said, according to the Independent Record. "We're rural and we're very big and we don't have any professional teams, so designing a product that would work for everyone no matter where they were, that was one of the … challenges."

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