With a handful of traditional casinos and over 100 smaller gambling venues, Montana is home to an incredibly large number of land-based gambling options. Although there are plenty of gambling venues in the state, Montana’s gambling industry still has plenty of room to grow. The state has outlawed online gambling, and online daily fantasy sports games are also considered illegal. Let’s take a closer look at where the Treasure State stands on sports betting.

Is it legal to bet on sports in Montana?

Sports betting, in the traditional sense, is illegal in Montana. However, punters can place wagers on horseracing and a state-operated fantasy football game. Bets can be placed at one of the state’s racetracks, off-track betting venues or online, at websites such as BetAmerica, TwinSpires and TVG.

When Congress enacted the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992, Montana was one of four states that were granted exemption from the law, as the state already offered sports tab games and sports pools prior to the passage of PASPA.

Although PASPA was struck down in 2018, Montana did not take immediate action to legalize sports betting like other US states. Instead, lawmakers in the state waited until 2019 to introduce legislation that would expand the state’s sports betting offering.

Lawmakers are in the process of considering three different bills that would legalize sports betting in Montana. The bills, SB 330, HB 475 and HB 725 would all legalize sports betting through different means. HB 475 would legalize sports betting under the board of horseracing, HB 725 would authorize sports betting through the state lottery and SB 330 would put the state’s Department of Justice in charge of regulating the activity.

Where will I be able to place bets on sporting events in Montana?

Depending on which bill receives final approval, sports betting could be offered at different locations in the state. SB 330 would authorize land-based and online betting. However, players would need to register online accounts in person either at a casino or via an interactive platform at a land-based venue. HB 725 would legalize land-based and online betting through the state lottery and HB 375 would allow licensed racetracks and off-track betting venues to offer pari-mutuel wagering.

What sports will I be able to bet on?

If sports betting legislation is successful, bettors will be able to wager on the outcome of professional and amateur sporting events. This will include vents such as football, hockey, basketball and baseball.

What else can I bet on in Montana?

In the absence of sports betting, there are several different gambling options available to residents in the state of Montana. First off is the Montana Lottery which offers a variety of games including scratch tickets and inter-state drawings. On top of this, residents can participate in charitable gambling activities provided they are licensed by the state.

Montana does not permit commercial casinos to operate in the state, instead, over 1400 license holders can offer video poker games. License holders can house up to 20 video poker machines in any venue that serves alcohol. The state law also allows social games of poker to take place as long as the prize does not exceed $800.

Although commercial casinos are illegal, the state does permit tribal gambling at a handful of tribal casinos. Five tribal groups in Montana have entered into gambling compacts with the state. These compacts allow Montana’s tribes to offer Class III gambling options. At these tribal venues, patrons can enjoy a variety of casino games such as:

  •    Slots
  •    Blackjack
  •    Roulette
  •    Craps
  •    Poker
  •    Bingo

Here are the tribal casinos that operate in the state:

Casino name Location Phone number Email Opening Hours
Silverwolf Casino 300 MT-25, Wolf Point, MT 59201, USA +1 406-653-3475 Not available Monday – Thursday 10am – 12am

Friday – Sunday 10am – 2am

Glacier Peak Hotel & Casino 46 Museum Loop, Browning, MT 59417, USA +1 406-338-2274 Online form Monday – Sunday 8am – 2am
Northern Winz Hotel and Casino 11275 US-87, Box Elder, MT 59521, USA +1 406-395-5420 Not available Sunday – Thursday 10am – 12am

Friday – Saturday 24 hours

Gray Wolf Peak Casino 20750 US-93, Missoula, MT 59808, USA +1 406-726-3778 info@csktgaming.com Monday – Wednesday 8am -3am

Thursday 8am – 12am

Friday – Saturday 24 hours

Sunday 12am-3am

KwaTaqNuk Resort Casino 49708 US-93, Polson, MT 59860, USA +1 406-883-3636 Online form Monday – Sunday 8am – 3am
Fort Belknap Casino 104 Assinibione Ave , Harlem, MT 59526, USA +1 406-353-2235 Not available Monday – Sunday 10am – 2am
Charging Horse Casino & Bingo 1/2 Mile East On US Hwy 212

Lame Deer, MT 59043, USA

+1 406-477-6677 Not available Monday – Sunday 8am – 2am

Are offshore gambling sites legal in Montana?

No, just as online gambling sites are illegal in Montana, so are offshore gambling sites. Legality aside, we recommend staying away from offshore for several reasons. The first being that they are not regulated or licensed to operate in Montana. This means that they are not bound by the same regulatory standards as Montana’s legal gambling industry. As a result of this unlicensed operators may not have industry standard player protection and security measures in place.

There is no guarantee that your play funds will be safe with offshore betting sites. This is because you have no idea who is handling the funds you deposit. Licensed operators are usually required to hold player funds in accounts separate from their own, or that of any other players.

You can spot offshore gambling sites by looking at the website’s domain name – domains ending in .EU or .AG aren’t licensed to operate in Montana.

Will it be safe to bet on sports in Montana?

If Montana does legalize sports betting it is likely to be a safe activity that is closely regulated. No matter which sports betting bill is voted on, a reputable state entity with a strong track record of regulating gambling activities will monitor and regulate sports betting in Montana.

Regardless of who regulates sports betting, it is still up to punters to ensure they are gambling responsibly. You should never bet more than you can afford to or view gambling as a way of coping with hardships. If you are concerned about your gambling habits or your risk of developing problem gambling, there are several educational resources available in Montana.

The National Council on Problem Gambling offers educational resources, a helpline and advice on treatment. Montana residents can also reach out to the Montana Council on Problem Gambling, a non-profit organization that aims to educate and provide support to those struggling with gambling addiction.

You can contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline via:

Phone: 1-800-522-4700

Text: 1-800-522-4700

Live Chat

You can contact the Montana Council on Problem Gambling via:

Phone: 1-406-438-1276

Helpline: 1-888-900-9979

Email: longcakeconsulting@gmail.com

Who regulates gambling in Montana?

The Gambling Control Division, part of the Montana Department of Justice, is responsible for regulating all forms of gambling except for the horseracing and the Montana Lottery. The state lottery is overseen by the Montana Lottery Commission and betting on horseracing is overseen by the Board of Horse Racing within the Montana Department of Commerce.

How old do I have to be to gamble in Montana?

To participate in any form of gambling in Montana you must be 18 or above. An exception to this rule, according to the Montana Department of Justice, is raffles conducted by churches, schools and charitable organizations, which can be entered by “children under 18 years old”. However, the minimum age requirement is not stated.

The journey to legal and regulated sports betting in Montana

1889 – Montana lawmakers banned all forms of gambling.

1925 – Horseracing events were held in the state despite being illegal.

1937 – The state of Montana passed the Hickey Act. This allowed each county to approve table games.

1950 – A bill that would have legalized casino gambling was rejected by voters.

1973 – Bingo and raffles games were made legal under charitable gambling laws.

1976 – Voters reject proposed legislation that would have created a state gambling commission.

1984 – The state declared that video poker machines were illegal under anti-slot machine laws.

1985 – The state government approved the Video Poker Machine Act. This allowed bars and venues that serve alcohol to install up to five video poker machines.

1986 – Voters approved the Montana Lottery.

1987 – The Montana Lottery went live, and the first tickets went on sale.

1992 – Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibiting sports betting across US states. Montana was one of four states that were made exempt from the law, alongside Nevada, Delaware and Oregon. These states had legal sports betting regulations in place and had laws grandfathered in under PASPA.

1994 – The state signed compacts with four different tribal groups allowing them to offer casino-style gambling on their land.

2005 – Online gambling was outlawed.

2015 – A bill that would legalize daily fantasy sports was rejected.

2018 – On 14 May, the Supreme Court reached a decision on the legality of PASPA. In a seven to two vote, it was agreed that one of the clauses in PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment, as its commandeered power from states to regulate their own gambling industries. This paved the way for all US states to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting. In the weeks after the repeal of PASPA a number of US sportsbooks launched across the country.

2019 – In March, lawmakers in Montana introduced three bills that would legalize sports betting in Montana: SB 330, HB 475 and HB 725. They would also see a different regulatory body in charge of the activity. HB 475 would charge the board of horseracing with regulating sports betting, while SB 330 would put the state’s Department of Justice in charge instead. HB 725 would see the state lottery becoming responsible for regulatory oversight of sports betting.

Lawmakers are currently exploring the possibility of legalizing sports betting in Montana. For more regulatory updates on sports betting in Montana, BettingUS has got you covered.