The state of Montana recently became the 17th state to launch legalized sports betting, but they have not gotten off to the start that they had hoped for. Fear of the coronavirus definitely played a huge role in this, but so did the wagers that were set by Intralot.
The limited amount of places where sports betting must be done is another problem as well, but that could change as Montana continues to unveil new sports betting kiosks.
Montana state legislators legalized sports betting in May 2019, but there were plenty of question marks that popped up when the deal was made, and several of those questions are still in place.
The Montana Lottery was chosen as the governing body of the new sports betting industry, but they were tasked with finding a sports betting provider to partner with.
The Montana Lottery chose Intralot. Intralot was also chosen by Washington D.C. as its mobile sports betting provider, and its launch is slated to take place later this year.
Choosing Intralot was the first point of contention with many people in Montana, as the Montana Lottery chose the company without taking other applications. Once Intralot was on board, they quickly began putting plans in place to launch Sports Bet Montana.
It didn’t take long for sports bettors in Montana to realize that something was way off when it came to the betting lines offered by Intralot. The moneyline odds that were set for most games didn’t compare to other moneylines around the market.
Intralot was also offering spread bets with lines listed at -135, which is very different than what other sportsbooks offer. Most sportsbooks offer spread bets with lines at -110, but Intralot has no competition in Montana and can, therefore, set their own market price.
Most of these lines were eventually canceled because of the sports world shutting down, but it has people in Montana wondering what it will look like when sports betting returns.
There is hope that the next few weeks will give state lawmakers a chance to revisit their deal with Intralot or at least demand that they set lines that are fair, especially their money line and spread betting lines.
The Montana State Lottery took applications throughout 2019 for vendors that would be able to offer live sports betting. Earlier last week, the Montana State Lottery began installing the sports betting kiosks to places around the state.
There are supposed to be over 100 betting kiosks set up throughout the state, with most of these being in convenience stores and gas stations. Workers will also have to be trained in how to operate the sports betting kiosks, and that training has started taking place as well.
Mobile sports betting can also be done through Sports Bet Montana, but all bets must be made on-site. Customers will need to create a sports betting account at one of the kiosks to place bets, but then they are free to visit any of the locations to bet going forward.
Washington D.C. was keeping a close eye on the roll-out of Sports Bet Montana, especially in how Intralot would fare. Intralot was chosen as their online sports betting operator in early 2019, but things have not gone live yet.
Lawmakers in Washington D.C. were also upset that Intralot was chosen as the representative, without the city taking any other applications. Sports stadiums and large restaurants can also apply for a sports betting license in our Nation’s capital, but Intralot will have a monopoly on the market at first launch.