Montana politely declines to eliminate college prop bets

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While states like Ohio, Maryland and, most recently, Louisiana, are reversing course on college prop bets, the Montana Lottery is fine with keeping the wagers in the catalog.

In a letter to NCAA President Charlie Baker posted on Twitter by Covers reporter Geoff Zochodne, Montana Lottery Director Bob Brown said he appreciated the concern about athlete well-being but did not think this was an issue that applies to the state.

Last week, Baker called on all states with regulated sports betting to pull college player props from the catalog.

“Speaking specifically to our state, with Montana’s low population and only two large universities, we can speak confidently that any issues occurring nationally have not been an issue in Montana,” Brown wrote. “Regarding the specifics of player prop betting, it is not in our immediate plans to discontinue college player prop markets offered through our sportsbooks. Montana’s local teams already have a limited number of markets, which we are not inclined to limit further.”

Montana Lottery is the only operator in the state, serving a population of 1.1 million people. The Sports Bet Montana app is available online throughout the state and branded kiosks are available for retail betting throughout Montana as well. The state took a grand total of $63 million in bets in 2023 across all sports.

What Brown did agree with Baker on was the subject of regulations regarding bettors who hurl verbal abuse and threats at athletes.

“We are in full support of your efforts to reduce the reports of student-athletes being harassed by bettors and the additional efforts surrounding player-athlete interaction in sports wagering,” he said.

“We also agree that regulations and statute would benefit from language being added to address the identification and prosecution of bettors who negatively interact with student-athletes. Establishing those expectations in our regulations will be considered as part of our efforts to strengthen the sports wagering offering in Montana.”