Gambling and Poker Laws in Montana
2021 Update: Can I Play Online Poker in Montana?
Montana hasn’t passed any online poker legislation yet, but they have approved and launched sports betting. A flurry of states started legalizing sports betting after a 2018 Supreme Court ruling paved the way, and Montana was one of them. In May 2019, Montana legalized sports betting. INTRALOT currently runs the sports betting scene along with the state lottery in Montana. Intralot sets the lines for online and physical sports betting terminals and provides all the software. Revenue was expected to be about $5 million with that money, but the coronavirus pandemic put a dent in those plans.
Sports betting legislation doesn’t always mean online poker is next, but it’s always a good sign. Especially if it has online sports betting like Montana. It shows a state is willing to explore expanding gaming and is building an online infrastructure that could be helpful for online poker.
Online Poker and the Law in Montana
Montana is a unique state when it comes to gambling and internet gambling. For the most part, they are one of the more lenient and accepting states when it comes to gambling.
For example, poker, bingo, state lottery, video gaming machines are just a few legal forms of gambling within the state. Even sports betting is legal under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
Before we go further let’s look at the definition of gambling in Montana, statute 23-5-112:
“Risking any money, credit, deposit, check, property or other thing of value for a gain that is contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device or gambling enterprise.”
The interesting thing here is since poker is legal to play under certain restrictions, they appear to consider the game “skill” and not “chance”. This is also true at a federal after a judge ruled poker to be a game of skill in 2012.
Can I Play Poker on PokerStars in Montana?
Whether you’re in Glacier National Park or downtown Helena, you still can’t fire up a game of PokerStars in Montana. If you head north to Canada, you can, but if you’re in the US, there are only two states that have it, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
PokerStars had a pretty infamous legal fallout after Black Friday and was barred from the US for a while. Now it’s been starting to come back on a state-by-state basis. There’s a chance you can play poker on PokerStars in Montana in the future, but for now, there are some pretty good alternatives. We’ve reviewed dozens of sites extensively and found a few that offer great games, solid tournaments and good rakeback that accept poker players from all 50 states, including Montana. Ignition Poker and Americas Cardroom are just two of these sites available to Montanans. Check out a list of our top-reviewed sites below:
Who Regulates Gambling in Montana?
The Montana Department of Justice is the governing body that regulates gambling within the state, except the state lottery and horse racing. The legal forms of gaming for real money include:
- Video line gambling machines
- Sports Pools
- Fantasy Sports Leagues
- Sports Tab Games
- Sports Betting
- Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing
- State Lottery
The state takes 10–15 percent of the proceeds which comes to about $300+ million annually. The legal age for gambling in Montana is 18. If you want to find a great article with all the significant timelines on the history of Montana gambling click here . It dates to 1889 and all the way through the current year, a very informative read.
Legal and Illegal Card Games
The traditional forms of poker are legal such as Omaha, draw, and 7-card stud to name a few. All forms have limit restrictions, maximum $2 bet and $800 payout. Not the greatest especially if you’re a high-stakes player but it’s better than nothing. Keno is also considered legal to play.
Blackjack, pia gow, and other card games where the players bet against the house are illegal. Same goes for craps and roulette in case you were wondering although they are not card games but considered a popular form of gambling.
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