Montana has a thriving gambling scene, but there are some unique characteristics to this state. There are hundreds of places to gamble in Montana, but table games are not legal. The state lottery is available and there were also forms of sports betting that were legal, before the repeal of the federal ban in 2018. Find out everything you need to know about gambling in Montana with our casino guide, including what’s allowed and what is not.
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Online Gambling in Montana
Regulated online gambling in Montana is relatively limited. The only form of online gambling that is officially permitted by law is off-track betting on horse racing. There are several large sites, like TwinSpires and TVG, who accept plenty of bets from residents in Montana. Other forms of online gambling are not regulated but Montana, with Daily Fantasy Sports not being permitted.
Montana has a wide variety of live gambling opportunities. The firs tis that there are race tracks offering betting on horse racing. However, Montana also allows for off-track betting at bars, which are permitted to operate a racebook. Bars are also allowed to offer live poker, and is one of the only states that allow poker outside of a casino.
There are plenty of bars and taverns that have poker tables available on their premises. Bars can also offer video lottery machines, with video poker and video keno games available. This means that throughout the state, there are hundreds of different locations that offer some form of gambling.
As for the lottery, there are three types of lotto tickets on sale. These are your traditional lotto tickets, scratch cards, and Montana’s own form of Daily Fantasy Sports for NASCAR and NFL. While traditional Daily Fantasy Sports sites are not permitted in Montana, the state’s lottery offers its own version. Normally, DFS do not base the prize pool on the number of participates. With the Montana Lottery, the prize pool is directly related to the number of participants, making it pari-mutuel betting. Only the top three players will receive any prize money, no matter how many people are playing, with the lottery keeping 26% of the prize pool.
Montana is a very unique state in the fact that it allows licensed taverns and bars to host poker tables. These gambling venues can offer numerous different types of poker games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud, and more. There are some limitations though, with the pot only allowed to grow to $800. Once the pot hits $700, all players must go all in. In addition to this, only live poker is permitted, no electronic poker games are allowed.
Montana was also one of the states that was exempt from the federal ban on sports betting. Montana was exempt because it had sports pool laws on the books when the ban came into place. This meant that some limited sports betting could take place, including betting on the likes of pig, gerbil, and hamster races. The state lottery also took advantage of the sports pool betting laws, by offering its own form of Daily Fantasy Sports bets. It’s the only type of DFS in the country, with betting on NASCAR and NFL permitted. However, the state lottery does keep 27% of the prize pool. Traditional Daily Fantasy Sports is not permitted though, so sites like DraftKings or FanDuels do not operate in Montana.
Montana Gambling History
As with most states, Montana has gone through times when gambling was legal, and times when it was not. When the state was first founded, its original constitution outlawed all forms of gambling in 1889. Table games would be legalized for a short period of time in 1937, and slot machines started to appear around the same time. However, in 1950, the Montana Supreme Court decided these devices were all illegal.
There would be no changes to gambling laws in Montana until 1972, when voters gave state legislature the right to change gambling laws. The state decided to make bingo and live poker legal, with Keno being legalized in 1973, and electronic keno in 1976. Video poker machines would start to show up in 1980, with operators claiming they were permitted due to the electronic keno ruling.
The supreme court disagreed with this claim and outlawed video poker, but this would be overturned a year later. The maximum payout would be limited to $100, and there was no tax on video poker until 1987. The state lotto would come into being in 1986, with gaming compacts with tribes beginning in 1994.
The 2000s would see several attempts to allow casinos with table games, with the last attempt failing in 2003. Then, in 2005, the state outlawed online gambling, with the exception of betting on horse racing.
Montana Casino FAQs
Is gambling legal in Montana?
Yes, there are numerous forms of gambling legal in the state on Montana. However, there are also a few forms of gambling that are outlawed.
What is the legal age to gamble in Montana?
The minimum age to gamble in Montana is 18. However, gambling locations can change this, and some poker casinos have a minimum age of 21 instead.
Can I play poker in the state of Montana?
Yes, Montana has legalized poker. Not only that, but bars are permitted to offer live poker, so it should be really easy to find a game.
Can you bet on horse racing in Montana?
Yes, there are several race tracks that offer betting on horse racing, while gamblers can also place bets in some bars.
Can I play blackjack in Montana?
Unfortunately, not. The law does not permit blackjack or other table games in Montana, nor can people play the electronic versions of these games.
Do gambling locations pay tax?
Any location that offers gambling games in Montana is subject to a 15% tax rate.
Is online gambling permitted in Montana?
Unfortunately, the only form of online gambling permitted in the state of Montana is off-track betting.