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Major events in Montana gaming history


Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing begins


Gambling venues begin reopening after Prohibition ends


The legislature legalizes table games if licensed by a county


Gaming machines are licensed as “trade stimulators” for nonprofit organizations


Montana Supreme Court rules that slot machines and punch boards are illegal
Voters overwhelmingly defeat an initiative to legalize gambling


Voters approve a constitutional referendum giving the legislature power to approve gambling


The legislature passes the Card Game, Bingo, Raffles and Sports Pool Act


Montana Supreme Court rules that video keno is a form of bingo, beginning video gaming in the state


Montana Supreme Court rules that video poker machines are illegal slot machines


The legislature passes the Video Poker Machine Act, which allows five poker machines per liquor license and unlimited keno machines


Voters approve a state lottery


The Lottery begins operations in June
The Silver Wolf Casino opens


The Lottery joins Lotto America in November


Off-track betting begins


Montana Cash debuts as the Lottery’s first in-state lotto game
The legislature lifts the limit on the number of video poker machines and authorizes a total of 20 video gambling machines per liquor license


Powerball replaces Lotto America


The Lottery joins Tri-West Lotto in February with Idaho and South Dakota
The state negotiates gambling compacts with four tribes: Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Fort Peck and Rocky Boy


Last year of racing at the fairgrounds at Helena


The multi-state lottery game Daily Millions is added in May
The state signs an interim compact with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes


Wild Card replaces Tri-West Lotto in February
Cash 4 Life replaces Daily Millions in March


Rolldown replaces Cash 4 Life in September


Charging Horse Casino and Bingo opens in January
Hot Lotto replaces Rolldown in April


Glacier Peaks Casino opens in September


Northern Winz casino opens in February


The Lottery creates Montana Sports Action, pari-mutuel fantasy football and horse racing games


The Lottery adds Mega Millions in March


Simulcasting at off-track wagering locations is suspended from January to May as the state Horse Racing Board struggled with financial problems; only Miles City held a live race meet during the year
Video line games become legal January 1


The Lottery launches the multi-state game Lucky for Life in January

Casinos and casino-style gaming

Montana offers a variety of forms of legal gambling. Video gaming was legalized in 1976, beginning with video keno; video bingo and video poker are also played at venues throughout the state. In 2011, the legislature legalized line games for the first time, effective January 1, 2012. Ten non-banking card games are also allowed: bridge, cribbage, hearts, panguingue, pinochle, pitch, poker, rummy, solo and whist. Live bingo and keno games, sports pools and sports tabs are also legal.

During fiscal 2014, there were 18.824 video gaming machines were reporting in 1,472 locations.         
Gambling Control Division
Department of Justice
2550 Prospect Avenue
P.O. Box 201424
Helena, MT 59620-1424
Phone (406) 444-1971


Tribal gaming

Five of the state’s seven tribes have current Class III gaming compacts; the other two tribes have casinos with Class II games.

Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation – Silver Wolf Casino
Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana – Glacier Peaks Casino (Class II casino)
Chippewa Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation – Northern Winz Casino
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation – KwaTaqNuk Resort, Gray Wolf Peak Casino (Class II casinos)
Crow Tribe of Montana – Little Big Horn Casino
Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation – Fort Belknap Casino
Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation – Charging Horse Casino & Bingo



The Montana Lottery began operations in June 1987. The current game offerings include instant tickets, Powerball, Mega Millions, Montana Cash, Hot Lotto Sizzler, Lucky for Life, Big Sky Bonus, Montana Sports Action (Fantasy Football and Fantasy Racing) and Treasure Play (instant play style games generated through the lottery’s terminal system). The lottery also offers limited-run raffle games.

Since 1995, following legislative action, Lottery proceeds have gone to the state’s General Fund, providing money for a variety of programs including education, health and public safety.

Montana Lottery
2525 North Montana Avenue
Helena, MT 59601-0598
Phone (406) 444-5825

Pari-mutuel facilities

Horse racing is a small industry in Montana. There are several fairs which may conduct a few days of live racing each year, but many have struggled in recent years and failed to offer racing. The track at Billings (now called Yellowstone Downs) opened in the mid-1940s and for a while offered the longest race meeting each year. Only Great Falls and Miles City held live race meets in 2015 and 2016. Off-track betting was authorized in 1990, and there are currently six OTB locations.

Yellowstone Downs (no racing)
P.O. Box 1138
Billings, MT 59105

Miles City Bucking Horse Sale
P.O. Box 1027
Miles City, MT 59301

Great Falls Turf Club
P.O. Box 82
Great Falls, MT 59403
Northwest Montana Fair (no racing)
265 North Meridian Road
Kalispell, Montana 59901

Western Montana Fair (no racing)
1101 South Avenue West
Missoula, Montana 59801

Montana Board of Horse Racing
P.O. Box 200512
Helena, MT 59620
Phone (406) 202-2795


Charitable gaming

Charitable and non-profit organizations may offer the same games allowed for commercial operators in the state, but are typically exempt from the tax and permit fees. Casino nights may include raffles, live bingo, live keno and authorized live card games. These forms of gaming are overseen by the Gambling Control Division of the Department of Justice.

Gambling Control Division
Department of Justice
2550 Prospect Avenue
P.O. Box 201424
Helena, MT 59620-1424
Phone (406) 444-1971


Last updated on June 19, 2016