Montana is taking steps to involve the public when it comes to bringing sports betting into the state. Legislators have decided to get public feedback regarding the proposed regulations for sports betting.
State lawmakers recently passed House Bill 725 which legalised sports betting and placed it under the management of the Montana Lottery. Just this month, the Lottery released its draft rules for managing sports betting in the state. Now it has opened the floor for public comments on the rules.
In a statement, Jennifer McKee, the lottery’s communications manager, said
We want the public to be involved; that’s very important to us, and it’s also our legal requirement. Today’s hearing was the chance for people to say in-person what they thought about the rules
The main idea of the proposed rules is to have sports betting available only at premises operated by licensed gambling operators. Montana currently has more than 1,400 licensed operators. Bettors would be able to wager at these facilities or they can create online sports betting accounts that would allow them to bet digitally. These accounts will have limits for responsible gambling purposes. Bettors will have the option to place a cap on their deposits and the time they spend on gambling websites.
Points Of Contention
One of the points of discussion is that some legislators believe that only operators who hold a gambling license and liquor license should be allowed to offer sports betting services. The idea behind it is that it would allow for better distribution of wagering facilities based on population distribution.
The Montana Tavern Association is very much in favour of this rule as the association believes that sports betting is designed for wagering in bars, restaurants, and taverns. However, critics point out that this rule provides limited betting options for bettors in the state. As one lawyer pointed out, the liquor license requirement excludes major establishments like bingo parlors.
McKee said that the Lottery will be taking all public feedback into account and will make sure that the proposed sports betting regulations takes all of this into consideration. The current plan is to have sports betting regulations finalised before the end of this year.
Currently, the Montana lottery commission is still accepting written and online comments on the draft proposal and will do so till November 4. The proposed draft rules suggested by the Lottery are available at the Montana Lottery website. Individuals can use the same website to submit their comments on the proposal.