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.