Two Montana sports betting bills head to governor for signature

Two bills that would legalize sports betting in the state of Montana have been sent to Governor Steve Bullock for final approval.

It is now up to Bullock to sign one or both of the bills into law before Montana’s legislative session comes to an end on 30 April.

If Bullock does not sign either of the bills into law, the state may have to wait another year for legal sports betting.

One of the bills comes from the House while the other comes from the Senate.

The House Bill

HB 725, also known as the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2019, would legalize land-based, online and mobile sports betting in Montana.

The main difference from this bill and the Senate bill is that it would make the Montana Lottery the sole operator for sports betting in the state.

This bill would also create a state lottery and wagering commission which would be responsible for regulating Montana’s sports betting market.

Although the bill has progressed to the Governor’s desk, it does not propose a tax rate for sports wagering or set a licensing fee.

The Senate Bill

SB 330, which has been dubbed the Montana Sports Betting Act, would also legalize land-based, online and mobile sports betting in the state.

Although both bills would authorize full-scale sports betting, SB 330 would create a much more open market by allowing licensed operators in the state to offer sports betting.

The bill also goes into more detail than the House bill in terms of licensing fees and taxation.

Licensed operators would be required to pay a tax rate of 8.5% on their adjusted gross sports betting receipts on a quarterly basis. On top of this, operators would have to pay a yearly fee of $100 for each kiosk located in a land-based facility.

When it comes to licensing, operators would need to pay $1,000 for a sports betting permit. Each license will expire on 30 June each year and would cost $1,000 to renew.

License holders would also be able to work with third parties to run a sports betting platform. An associated gambling license would cover these partnerships and authorize the leasing of sports betting equipment and systems.

What’s next?

Now that both bills have arrived on the Governor’s desk it will be up to him to sign one or both of them into law.

If both bills are signed into law, Montana’s residents would have a greater choice when it comes to choosing who to bet with.

Several operators including William Hill and MGM have expressed interest in running sportsbooks in the state.

With the legislative session set to end on 30 April, there is a very small window for the Governor to legalize sports betting.

In other news, a bill that would legalize sports betting in Indiana has been sent to the state’s Governor for final approval.

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