- University of Montana officials have concerns about legalized sports betting.
- Sports wagering became legal in Montana in early May.
- Everyone wants to maintain the integrity of sports.
HELENA, Mont. – University of Montana athletic director has concerns over legal sports betting.
Sports betting is legal in Montana. Governor Steve Bullock signed MT HB 725 to authorize sports wagering in the state. Through this bill, Montana has legal sports betting. Bets will take place through terminals and online devices. This gives gamblers a wide array of options to place their bets. This makes Kent Haslam, the University of Montana Director of Athletics, very concerned.
“If there’s no integrity in that game, then why show up, why support it? Again, we’re dealing with 18 to 22, 23-year-old young people that come from a variety of walks of life,” said Haslam.
Almost No Other Home Teams
Montana does not have many athletic teams. There are no professional sports teams from the Treasure State. On top of that, there are only two Division I college programs in the state. Sports bettors have the tendency to support their home team. This does not leave many options for hometown bettors.
“We don’t have any pro sports in this state. So, let’s face it, what are people going to be betting on that they can actually attend right here in this state, are going to be Montana, Montana State athletic contests,” said Haslam.
Lawmakers were very aware of that fact when they created the sports betting bill. Lawmakers created oversight rules with this in mind. Anyone involved with a Montana college athletic program cannot bet in Montana. This includes college athletes.
USAOnlineSportsbooks.com hopes this will allow for oversight and maintain the integrity of Montana college games. This is not the only measure that will be set in place. Montana Lottery Communications Manager Jennifer McKee said they are working on the rules for sports betting in the state.
McKee said the lottery is “figuring out how sports wagering will look in Montana.” Nothing is set in stone for sports betting in Montana right now. The lottery can make additional rules that would allow for oversight on Montana sports betting. They could make it so anyone with access to the collegiate athletes cannot wager on their games.
McKee said that the University’s concerns are going to be under consideration. We will not likely know what sports betting will look like for Montana until it starts. Sportsbooks in Montana will likely open before the 2020 Super Bowl.