Montana Sports Betting Gains Momentum From Start of NFL Season

Montana Casinos
Montana sports betting arrived at the wrong time. Sports Bet Montana launched on March 9th but barely six days later, bars and casinos in Montana were ordered closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shutdown effectively put legal sports betting in Montana at a standstill.

But since sports has returned, the figures have slowly improved and as of September 16th, Sports Bet Montana has taken a total of $5M in bets this year, not bad considering the three months where there was literally no sports betting action in the state.

Montana Sports Betting Took Off With the NFL

When sports resumed in May, there were few events to bet on. Events like Korean baseball and the UFC were the first to come back and both didn’t appeal to Montanans and they did very little to perk up real money sports betting in Montana.

The return of Major League Baseball in July started a good streak for Montana sports betting. But after the NFL’s 2020 season opened earlier this month, legal sports betting in Montana took off.

A total of $189,000 was wagered on the NFL in Montana during opening week. For the week of September 7-13, 52% of the total sports wagers in Big Sky County was made on the NFL. Last Monday, a total of $36,629 was wagered in the game between the Denver Broncos vs Tennessee Titans.

Looking at $500K in Total Bets Per Week

Lottery officials predict that if the current momentum of Montana sports betting continues, the state can generate a weekly total bet amount of $500K. Officials are looking at expanding their retail base and the number of places where people can place bets in order to achieve this lofty target. But with the NFL season going full steam ahead, the target is very achievable.

The sportsbook for Sports Bet Montana is managed by Intralot which is a Greek integrated gambling, transaction processing system, and sports betting company. Intralot receives a percentage of the total amounts bet via Sports Bet Montana.

All of the money made by Sports Bet Montana came from wagers placed within the state. The state takes 12% of the total betting handle and gives 6% of that back to the businesses where the wagers were made.The other 6% goes to the State of Montana STEM scholarships. According to Montana Lottery, a total fo $364,000 has been returned to businesses offering legal sports betting in Montana. Similarly, the same amount has gone to scholarships.

Virgnia’s “Sports Bettor Bill of Rights” Draws Flak From Major Operators

Virginia Sign

The public comment period on the proposed rules and regulations of sports betting in Virginia ended last Wednesday and some of the initial policies have received opposition from major gambling operators.

During the review process, major platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel have taken issue with some of the consumer protection rules that officials are proposing. One particular regulation that has received negative feedback is the one that requires the betting platforms to provide players with information that can help them make “informed decisions about their gambling”. These information include how the odds were calculated, odds of winning a bet, and the handle and payout amounts.

Other Issues That Drew Negative Reactions

According to the gambling operators, no other sports betting state in the United States has imposed a similar requirement. FanDuel in particular, noted that it recently offered 24 different bets on an NBA playoff game and that had nearly 300 potential outcomes and even more possible parlay wagers. Presenting the required information under Virginia’s proposed Sports Bettors Bill of Rights in real time will cause logistical problems on both processing power and screen space.

Other issues that drew negative reactions include the process of allowing players voluntarily ban themselves from sports betting for two years, five years, or for life if they feel they are losing too much money or if they feel they are getting addicted to gambling. The regulations also requires gambling operators to submit all marketing and advertising materials to the Lottery for pre-approval. The advertising rules also prohibit them from targeting minors and ads that violate “good taste” are disallowed.

Additionally, there is a proposed rule that bans betting on the Olympics, something which was not included in the legislation of the General Assembly. For this issue, the operators argued that excluding some sports evets would defeat the purpose of the legislation. Several companies also requested for a more lenient advertising policy where they won’t need a formal sign-off in advance.

Laying The Foundation of Virginia Sports Betting

The public review is being conducted by the Lottery to lay the foundation of the sports betting rules in Virginia. The outcome of the review will determine how quickly or not sports betting will launch in the state and what the bettors expect to see in the betting apps when they are officially launched. If all goes well, sports betting is expected to start next year in Virginia.

This year, the General Assembly passed a legislation authorizing the Virginia Lottery to hand out between four to 12 sports betting licenses in the state. Sports betting in Virginia will start online, largely via sports betting apps. However, it could eventually expand to the brick and mortar casinos being planned in different cities and the Colonial Downs operated Rosie’s gambling places.

The Virginia Lottery Board is expected to meet on Tuesday to vote on the new rules on sports betting. Once the rules and regulations are in place, the Lottery will begin accepting applications for sports betting licenses next month. Sports betting is expected to bring in an annual $55M in state tax revenues.