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Montana Lottery Faces Sports Betting Injunction

Montana Lottery is facing a legal suit after Arete, a gambling company, claims the lottery board is prejudiced by giving out sports betting licenses to alcohol exclusive establishments. The Montana lottery board was charged with the overseeing of Sports betting in the state after it was legalized in May 2019, making them in charge of issuing sportsbooks to successful applicants. According to the Lottery, only bars, taverns, and restaurants with specific liquor licenses can apply. This is a provision that was initially not stated in the bill. Arete is determined to get a sports betting license and has thus decided to initiate legal proceedings against the board.

Montana Lottery

Liquor License to Gambling License in Montana

When Governor Steve Bullock signed the bill in May, there was no mention of restrictions on the sports betting license policy. This omission happened because it came as an amendment after the bill was signed, so it did not go through the commentary stage. Arete claims that the original Bill explicitly omitted the alcohol license requirement provision. The bill’s only requirement was that applicants just needed to have an existing gambling operator license, which the company suing does have. The company insists that they should still be granted a sports betting license despite not having an alcohol permit. These are the grounds for applying for an injunction on the Montana gambling board.

The Lottery board responded by opposing the application on several grounds. The board claims their actions are all according to legal stipulations and that they are merely doing their job. Their primary defense is that in the bill, there was a testimony requesting all sports betting sites to be bars and taverns. They are interpreting this as an exclusive condition for sports betting establishments.

The Lawsuit could cause an unnecessary distraction to sports betting regulation in Montana. Sports betting is anticipated expected to be in full operation by the end of 2020.