Gaming regulations vary greatly depending on the region, state, city and town within the United States. Some states only allow gaming on Native American reservations, others permit only video based games and others allow any type of betting to occur at any establishment. Although not generally known, Montana allows gambling in a few different types of settings. These include:
- Video poker
- Video keno
- Live card games
- Sports pools
Casino nights for non-profits
Montana has a long history of slot machines, blackjack and roulette. When gambling was made illegal, it wasn’t enforced by authorities in Montana until the late 1940’s. Once the State Supreme Court found it illegal, it took over 30 years to make a comeback. The Gambling Control Division was established in 1989 and they license, audit and enforce laws within gaming establishments.
Prior to the creation of this division, gaming was regulated on a local basis. Local governments had the ability to levy a gambling tax and lower the number of machines in the area. The Gambling Control Division collected all revenues, taxes and laws into a single governing body.
The gambling tax is split two-thirds to the state government and one-third to the local government. The state governing body allowed local agencies to extend gaming closing hours and restrict gambling in specific geographic areas by utilizing local zoning regulations.
The Gambling Control Division within the state of Montana employs only 36 individuals. Aside from creating gambling laws, they also test different gaming machines against the standard. Also, they grant, deny, renew, revoke and suspend licenses through a judicial review. Within the division is an auditing branch that examines tax records and scrutinizes other financial issues. Their primary focus is compliance of the law.
There are currently 11 total states that have gaming commissions but do not allow casinos. In many of these states the commission only overseas charitable, non-profit gaming. Other states regulate Native American gaming, card clubs and various smaller-scale gaming operations.
Montana is a unique gaming state in that it doesn’t allow any casino’s; only smaller establishments. These are highly-regulated and taxed at the federal level. Many of these establishments are in taverns that offer video poker, keno, card games and sports pools. Others, such as fundraisers (non-profit) are also regulated. Perhaps one day the gaming commission will elect to allow casino operations into their state.