Montana Online Poker Law
Montana has one good thing going for it when it comes to online poker players: it borders Canada.
As of late 2013, there has been no movement toward legalizing online poker in Montana. Poker is also legally considered a gambling game in Montana, meaning it falls under the same rules as defined in the state’s gambling laws that outlaw any form of online gambling. News that should further depress online poker players here is that lawmakers acted to outlaw online gambling just in 2005.
But Montana has a great poker tradition, once home to more than 50 card rooms, many of them small, locally run joints with names like Cathy and Karen’s Card Room, Cat’s Paw Poker Room, Good Time Charlie’s Poker Room, The Betsy, and many others.
Players use to have to navigate rules that limited pot sizes to $300, days when tournaments can take place, as well as buy-in limits, but relief came in 2013. A bill was passed that raised the pot limits to $800 and allowed rooms to hold daily poker tournaments. This was the first time pot limits had been raised since the late 1980s.
Proponents of the change argued that it is necessary to help keep the localized poker industry alive and well. The state has seen a major decline in licensed poker tables since 2009, when it had 434 tables under watch. Today, just a handful of tables remain.
The same logic could be applied to the online poker debate, but in Montana, it’s not.
When Can I Play Online Poker Legally in Montana?
Montana does have a casino industry made up of 10 Native American casinos and bingo halls, but online poker players shouldn’t look to it for help passing online poker legislation there. If only the localized card rooms would join forces and put the idea of online poker in the minds of its lawmakers, momentum may change.
Yes, people can physically straddle the Montana-Canadian border, one foot in the United States, the other in the fuzzy neighbor to the north. Stand on one side and go for that straight flush in the Sunday Million. Take a step south, and have all your funds seized.
Online poker would be lucky to be legalized in Montana within this decade.
What is the Potential Online Poker Market in Montana?
With only about 630,000 people 21 or older, the potential online poker player consumer base is around 63,000. Montana and the other states with smaller populations would obviously benefit the most from a multi-state poker network. A lack of nationally owned casinos doesn’t help, either. Without a push from its online poker players, lawmakers mostly likely won’t even consider it.