The Montana Lottery Commission has announced its expectations to begin the roll-out of terminals for sports betting across the state in the week commencing March 9.
Since the launch in December of its new product, Sports Bet Montana, the state lottery has received 230 applications for sports betting licenses and has issued so far 127, of which 20 in Billings, 12 in Missoula, 11 in Helena and 10 each in Great Falls and Butte.
The Montana Lottery is preparing to place the sports betting terminals at the locations that are licensed but due to the massive area the state occupies, the speed of this roll-out would be a challenge for the regulatory body and its staff and the initial number of terminals will be low.
Once placed in the specific locations, the Sports Bet Montana branded terminals would not become operational straight away as training of the staff that will operate them is required.
Operational For March Madness
The roll-out start date for the week commencing March 9 is seeking to provide fully operational sports betting terminals before the NCAA Tournament, a.k.a. “March Madness” which is one of the sporting events in the US that generate most betting interest and starts on March 17 with the first play-in game with initial batch of opening round contests slated for March 19.
Placing wagers will be able only inside the locations that have been licensed to house a terminal, according to the rules that were approved by the lottery back in November, with bets placed either on the terminals or via a mobile app while inside the location, but the Montana Lottery Commission did not mention specifically whether mobile betting will also be available with the terminals going live.
There are certain limits on the amount of maximum bet taken, $250 in cash at a kiosk and up to $1,000 via an app through an account registration that is tied up to a bank account, with no credit betting allowed, and the maximum payout on a single bet is capped at $100,000.
The Montana Lottery Commission is planning to launch its new product website in the near future, to be able to provide instructions online on how to sign up for the mobile app, as well as tutorials explaining how to place each of the approved type of bets.
The state legislature in Montana approved the bill legalizing sports betting in 2019, allowing as many as 1,400 locations across the state to apply for a license to house a sports betting terminal, and if the planned roll-out goes according to the schedule, Montana will be among the first states to go live with sports betting in 2020.