Montana Lottery projecting biggest year yet for sports betting in fiscal year 2023

By: - September 8, 2022 4:54 pm

Sports betting is open in Montana, but the odds aren’t great for bettors. Basketball was the most bet on sport January through April. (JD Danny via Pexels.com)

Sportsbet Montana is expecting its most prominent year yet, with the Montana Lottery projecting that $47.17 million will be wagered in the state in the fiscal year 2023.

If history is any indicator, the state is likely to come close to that number. In FY 2021, Montanans bet $43.25 million on sports, $15 million over projections, and in FY 2022, $44.98 million was bet, just short of the projected $45 million.

Daniel Iverson, content manager for the Montana Lottery, said the agency has been working to grow the product after a tumultuous launch in 2020 amidst the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Depending on how you look at it, this might be the first regular year we have on record, so I think we will be really interested in how it goes,” Iverson told the Daily Montanan on Thursday.

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One area the lottery has focused on growing is the number of mobile users. Right now, bettors have the option to bet on their phones through the Sportsbet Montana app or at a kiosk, but regardless of which option a user chooses, they must be within certain proximity of a kiosk, typically found in bars and casinos.

“Generally, more bets are placed on the machine than on a phone, but it is gradually shifting, and over time, it will balance out, and that’s why we have been trying to grow the mobile betting user base,” Iverson said.

To help grow its mobile user clientele, the lottery is offering a number of mobile-exclusive promotions at the start of the NFL Football season.

Montana is one of 36 states where sports betting is currently legal. However, it is one of the only states that requires a bettor to be in-person in order to place a bet, which critics have said limits the state’s ability to maximize betting potential and pull bettors away from the black market.

Like in Montana, sports betting is gaining more traction across the country. According to the American Gaming Association, 46.6 million American adults plan on betting during the 2022 NFL season — an increase of 3 percent year-over-year.

Last year, nearly $700,000 was bet on the Superbowl in Montana — the highest amount for a single event since the legalization of sports betting in the state.

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert is a reporter for the Daily Montanan. Keith was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. He can be reached by text or call at 406-475-2954 .

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