Montana Governor signs sports betting bill

Montana has become the ninth US state and first this year to legalize sports betting. Governor Steve Bullock signed a bill H 725, which allow the state lottery to oversee a system of wagering through kiosks and mobile applications.

Gov. Bullock’s approval means that for the next seven years lottery giant Intralot will run the state’s sportsbook operation. Intralot was also recently awarded similar control over sports betting in the District of Columbia.

The H 725 bill’s sponsor, Democrat Ryan Lynch, said the goal is to have it running by the start of the football season in September.

A second sports betting bill passed by Montana legislators, S 330, was vetoed by Bullock though. That model would allow multiple operators to function in Montana.

“A new market like this cannot support sports wagering under both systems at once. For the market to succeed, Montana needs to enter the sports wagering market conservatively,” stated Governor Bullock in a veto letter obtained by Legal Sports Report.

Lottery officials estimate that people will wager more than $65 million in the first year, which would mean about $3.7 million in revenue to the state after an expected 80 per cent payout and expenses.

Bullock’s signature makes Montana the first state to officially approve legal gambling this year. Tennessee’s governor has indicated he will let his state’s betting legislation become law without his signature, while bettors in Indiana and Iowa are awaiting action by their respective governors.

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