Montana Judge Overturns Sports Betting Rule & Expands Pool of Possible LicenseesPublished November 10, 2020 by Elana K
Montana District Judge Kathy Seely has overturned a rule that limited sports betting to businesses with an alcoholic beverage license
A Montana judge has overturned a rule that limited sports betting to businesses with an alcoholic beverage license. The rule, which was part of the Montana Lottery’s sports betting regulations, was challenged by an investment group, and indeed, Lewis and Clark County District Judge Kathy Seely ruled that that particular aspect of the state’s online gambling regulations is not legal.
The basis of the judge’s ruling is that the original rule was not what lawmakers intended when they authorized sports betting in 2019. Judge Seely said, "If the Legislature intended to limit sports wagering facilities in this way, the Legislature could have done so. The court will not insert a provision that the Legislature omitted."
Lyndon Schevec, who represented the investment group, Arete Group, LLC, said, “We have great judges here in Montana especially at the district court level and we agree and respect the judge’s decision. At the end of the day justice prevailed in this case.”
In the original lawsuit, Arete Group asked to be granted an immediate sports betting license, but the request was rejected. Since the ruling, the group has already reapplied for a license.
Jennifer McKee, a spokeswoman for the Montana Lottery, commented on Judge Seely’s ruling, "This is an important decision. We're reviewing it closely and we are in the process of determining our next steps."
Sports betting in Montana kicked off in March 2020, and in a short span of time bets reached a handle of $9.7 million. Bettors won $8.5 million in payouts and the businesses that offer sports betting have earned nearly $550,000 altogether.