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Montana – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
Montana is an icon of North American nature with the stunning Rocky Mountains and the seemingly endless Great Plains on the other. Even its name originates from the Spanish for ‘mountain’. The Northwestern state originally attracted settlers for the vast wealth of resources ranging from furs to gold. Even the state’s motto translates to ‘gold & silver’ and here we will see if that motto lives true for the eager gamblers amongst the state’s relatively small population of just over one million people. So, keep reading to find out what the current situation is for gambling in The Last Best Place.
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Local gambling operations are forbidden from setting up online platforms for people to play on. Instead, locals can access online casinos operating from abroad. Most of these sites are based in Europe and cater to players from around the world. While online gambling isn’t strictly legal in Montana, there is nothing forbidding these overseas sites from being active and it is in fact the government’s responsibility to block access to them. There is also little to fear with regards to prosecution, as the laws are primarily focused on operators and not individual players. You will therefore have a lot of choices when picking an online casino, but it is important to be aware of the added risks inherent with playing from a restricted or unregulated market. Such markets tend to attract illegitimate operations, due to the lack of governmental oversight.
- Is the casino fully licensed?
- What is the reputation of the licensing body?
- Will you be able to use your preferred payment methods?
- Will you be able to participate in loyalty programs?
- Does the site feature sports betting?
Asking yourself a few questions, such as the ones above, is a great start to determining the value and legitimacy of a casino without needing to sign up. Answers to all of these questions and more can be found by checking out some casino reviews, like the ones found here at GoodLuckMate.
Montana first set up its state-run lottery back in 1987. This was during the same time that tribal compacts were first being draughted with Native American tribes, essentially giving them preferential rights to establish land-based casinos. A number of them can be found in Montana, alongside privately-run establishments. Horse racing, daily fantasy sports, as well as charity and social gambling are also legal activities in the state.
The state’s lottery board launched the Montana Sports Action in 2008, which allowed for residents to participate in daily fantasy sports. Montana is one of the few states that actually includes legal definitions for online gambling in their legislation, clearly outlining what is considered online gambling, whereas most states have no mention of it whatsoever. While the state remains rather liberal in a lot of other areas of gambling, it appears lawmakers have made a clear stance when it comes to participating online. This makes it very believable that a fully regulated market is still beyond the horizon for Montanans.
Usually localized content will start to steadily stream in once a regulated market has been established. That’s not the case for the US though, as industry standards already align very well with American ideals. English language options are the standard, as well as playing with US dollars. Big US events like the Superbowl also draw in huge international crowds that sites are more than happy to represent in full. Where you might struggle though is finding good deals and promotional content that you will be eligible for. It is one thing for the government not to block access to your site, but it is tempting fate when you start to directly advertise to that government’s citizens. It is, therefore, a good idea to look for loyalty programs that are available for all players, as these tend to provide rewards based on activity rather than geography.
As briefly mentioned above, US dollars (alongside euros) is the default currency for the online casino industry. As sites often cater to a very diverse audience, it is unavoidable that the topic of currencies will come up. It is virtually impossible for a site to be able to support every single currency under the sun and therefore a few default options are instead used. So, while a site might not cater to US players, they will still more than likely support US dollars for players whose local currency could not be supported for one reason or another. What this essentially means is that practically every single online casino will support US dollar payments.
Eight tribally run land-based casinos operate in Montana today, alongside hundreds of other licensed gambling venues. Horse racing also occurs during the summer at the Yellowstone Downs track. This clearly shows that the state isn’t completely resistant to the activity, but clearly defining online gambling in legislation and then restricting it gives off a different message. It is suspected that this could be due to the close ties that gambling and alcohol have in the state, as gambling machines are incredibly popular in bars and other watering holes. This has made the two synonymous with one another, which has given gambling an even more disparaging image. We believe it is in the state’s best interest to fully regulate the market, while also needing to divorce it from its relationship with alcohol. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like these changes will be coming in the near future and this less than ideal status quo will likely remain for years to come.