Montana close to legalizing sports gambling
A sports gambling bill only needs the governor’s signature to become law
At the beginning of April, Montana was already close to legalizing sports gambling. It is now as close as it can be without actually having the activity legalized, with only a pen and a signature preventing sports gambling from becoming legalized in the state. Governor Steve Bullock is wielding the power and can ultimately make or break Montana’s sports gambling efforts.
Bullock has two bills before him discussing sports gambling – Senate Bill 330 (SB 330) and House Bill 725 (HB 725). Each has been supported strongly in the state’s legislature and one or the other is expected to be signed by the governor.
SB 330 was sponsored by Senate President Mark Blasdell and survived its last vote last Thursday. It would see the sports gambling industry fall to the state’s attorney general to be regulated. HB 725 was sponsored by Representative Ryan Lynch and was approved a week ago. In contrast to Blasdell’s bill, the Montana State Lottery would oversee the industry.
Bullock has to choose one of the bills and has ten business days to put pen to paper to give his signature. If he doesn’t respond within the two-week period, both bills will automatically be converted into law. If this were to happen, the market could get messy, with some sports gambling kiosks being run by the Montana Lottery Commission and others by the state attorney general.
The governor, according to some sources, favors HB 725, as it puts the lottery in charge, which means more money for the state.