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Sports betting officially became one of the wagering options in Montana when crews from the state lottery began installing sports betting terminals across the state. In addition to installing the terminals, these crews were also tasked with training personnel on how the machines operate, so that they could assist bettors with how to use them. Given the number of locations that will have these terminals, that is no small feat.
In total, there will be over 180 licensed locations that will have sports betting terminals, which will all be up and running by the end of the weekend. Many of these terminal locations will be bars and gas stations, which allow casino gaming in a limited capacity through gaming machines already in the state. But the addition of sports betting is a natural fit for bars, where sports viewing is already an integral part of the experience.
A big reason for this approach in Montana, to put terminals in businesses, was the overall mindset of those tasked with putting together a sports betting program in the state. Their thought was to make sure that sports betting was available to people in Montana where they were rather than to attempt to make Montana into a Las Vegas-like gambling attraction for tourists. Given the remote nature of Montana, that was the pragmatic approach, and ultimately the right approach.
Also important, along with the implementation of betting terminals throughout Montana, is the fact that bettors are going to be able to wager online. This is going to be done through a smartphone app that Montana smartphone users will soon be able to download. However, there are some concerns with the ability to bet on smartphones in Montana.
Unlike the ability to wager on an app anywhere within the state, the way that states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania have set things up, bettors are instead only able to bet via app at pre-approved locations. That means that for bettors who are not able to access those locations, there will still be no legal sports betting options available.
The most important factor to consider when it comes to Montana is the sheer size of the state. Montana is the largest state in its region by far, but is not as densely populated as the similarly sized Texas in the south. Due to the lack of population density, much of the state can be extremely remote. And if those remote areas do not include a location where terminal or app-based betting are permitted, people in those areas will unfortunately be out of luck before they can even place a bet.
For those who are able to wager using the app in Montana, there is a solid selection of sports that they can wager on. Bettors can take on pro and college football and basketball, along with baseball, hockey, tennis, soccer, golf, racing and fighting. That is likely to satisfy even the most passionate sports fans in Montana, with the hope being that the bulk of those sports fans are within range of locations to enjoy it.
Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
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