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Betting Business: Montana bills would legalize sports betting and regulate it

Montana listening to bills that would legalize sports betting and regulate it.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal gambling law, giving individual states the power to legalize and regulate sports gambling.

In the Montana Legislature Wednesday, the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee heard testimony on two bills that would legalize sports betting and regulate it through the Board of Horse Racing and the Montana Lottery, both of which have no oversight from the Gambling Control Division.

Rep. Brad Tschida, R-Missoula, sponsored House Bill 475, which would expand pool-based horse betting systems to other team sports.

“For those of us who don’t bet, it really has no impact on us,” Tschida said. “For those who like to bet, it’s an opportunity from them to do that in a way that is organized and well-maintained.”

The second bill heard was House Bill 725, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Lynch, D-Butte, which would allow the Montana State Lottery to offer sports betting.

“The reason the Lottery makes sense is that it’s already existing,” Tschida said. “So we have existing infrastructure that’s been already laid out across the state. What this does would allow the Lottery to authority and the opportunity to offer sports wagering within communities.”

Both bills passed out of the House last month.

Tim Pierce is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association, the Greater Montana Foundation and the Montana Newspaper Association.


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