Two Montana tribes approved for retail sports betting

Montana Retail Sports Betting
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The Montana sports betting market could undergo substantial change.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has approved a compact between the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation that authorizes the operators of Silver Wolf Casino to offer retail sports betting. The compact, which took effect on Jan. 29, allows the tribes to immediately provide regulated wagering to their customers at the 12,000-square-foot casino.

The two tribes have yet to declare a launch date for sports betting operations but if wagering goes live it will make Silver Wolf the first tribal casino in Montana to offer sports betting.

In 2019, former Gov. Steve Bullock signed House Bill 725 into law, which authorized regulated sports betting in Montana through the state’s lottery. The Montana Lottery provides oversight for retail wagering at self-service kiosks throughout the state. The lottery has also provided an app for Montana bettors, which only allows users to prepare wagers to be placed at retail locations or near kiosks. The app, Sports Bet Montana, is operated by gambling supplier Intralot. Businesses that provide Intralot-powered kiosks in Montana receive a 3% commission on bets.

Greek-based Intralot also provides services for sports wagering operations in Washington, D.C. As of September 2023, Intralot has more than 500 betting kiosks at businesses throughout Montana. Last year, the supplier helped the state report a $59 million handle in just nine months, according to the Montana Lottery. In 2022, the state’s full-year handle closed at $44.9 million. The Montana Lottery aims to increase the state’s handle to $100 million annually in the next two years, according to Content Manager Daniel Iverson.

The handle provides tax revenue for the state’s general fund. A portion of the revenue is also provided to a state-sanctioned STEM scholarship program, which has received over $1.5 million.