The Montana Lottery Commission on Thursday announced which sports Big Sky State gamblers can wager on and what type of bets will be accepted. There also appears to be a chance some locations there will be able to take bets in advance of the NCAA Tournament.
The commission approved traditional bets, such as moneylines, spreads, and totals (over/under) as well as in-game wagers, propositions, and futures. Prop bets are increasingly popular around marquee events, such as the Super Bowl, while futures allow gamblers to make investments before a season starts on outcomes such as conference and division winners and league champions, among others.
Sports Bet Montana was launched in December and more than 100 businesses have since been licensed to offer sports wagering.
Now, most of that work is complete and Montana Lottery crews have begun installing communications equipment in retail locations,” according to a statement. “They expect to begin placing the betting terminals the week of March 9, with training for sales agents to follow very quickly after the equipment is installed.”
The NCAA Tournament, also known as “March Madness,” is one of the most wagered-on sporting events in the US, and starts on March 17 with the first play-in game. The initial batch of opening round contests is slated for March 19.
“We anticipate beginning to deliver Sports Bet Montana terminals the week of March 9, before the NCAA tournament. It’s hard to anticipate exactly how many will be selling before the tournament begins,” said Montana Lottery spokeswoman Jennifer McKee in an email to Casino.org.
Ultimately, as many as 1,400 businesses across the state could offer sports wagering, because as the law there is drawn up, liquor license holders will be able to book bets.
It is expected that because of the massive area the Big Sky State occupies, the initial roll-out will be soft and that it’ll take awhile to get all approved licensees adequately trained in operating the betting terminals.
“Montana is larger than Germany, and the distance our crews need to travel is really the limiting factor on how quickly all terminals get out in the field,” said McKee.
Montana Lottery will also be introducing a website that will feature instructions on how bettors can access the Sport Bet Montana mobile app.
Gamblers in Montana will be able to place bets on college and professional sports, including basketball, baseball, boxing, football, golf, hockey, mixed martial arts (MMA), motor sports, and tennis. Montana isn’t home to any professional teams, nor do any of its universities play Division I football.
Of the 14 states where sports wagering is currently legal and live, eight don’t have professional sports franchises.
Assuming some Montana businesses are offering sports betting in advance of the NCAA Tournament, the state will be vying with Illinois for the honor of the first to go live with legal sports gambling in 2020. After that pair, Colorado is next in line, targeting a May 1 launch date.