Can You Play Online Poker in Montana?
No, you cannot play online poker legally in Montana. Although live poker rooms for playing the game in person exist all over the state, people who want to play Montana online poker without visiting these in-person locations will have a hard time finding legal online casinos where they can play for real money.
Why Not? What Are the Online Poker Laws in Montana?
Montana is one of the few US states with laws that explicitly address the issue of online poker and gambling. TITLE 23, Chapter 5 of the state’s constitution mentions “Internet gambling” and prohibits it.
But while Montana online poker is considered illegal, the state only takes action against operators of online poker rooms and not against players. Montana’s Gambling Control Division does not give out licenses to online casino operators, which means any site serving players within the state can be shut down.
There are no measures or punishments to stop players from playing on (risky) online poker sites offered by international operators. These international sites are also known as offshore sites, and they operate outside the jurisdiction of local authorities in Montana. Many of these sites, such as Ignition and ACR Poker, accept registration from poker enthusiasts in Montana, meaning they can play for real money without significant legal repercussions.
Although playing on these sites does not technically break any federal or state laws, MyPokerCoaching does not recommend playing online poker on offshore sites. Offshore sites are not bound by US laws, and many of them operate under licenses that are not strict enough to protect site users from fraud and unfair gaming practices.
There is a serious risk of losing your money or not getting your due payouts on these sites. Also, if you choose an online poker site that operates outside Federal and State Jurisdiction, it’ll be difficult to get legal help to recover your money if the site shuts down or holds your money unlawfully. Additionally, there’s no guarantee you’ll be playing a fair game – i.e., cheaters may be playing against you at your table. Steer clear if you value game integrity and the safety of your money.
Potential Montana Poker Sites to Launch in the Future
Poker has been popular in Montana for many years, but the state is still to regulate online poker sites. There have been several attempts at it over the years, but so far, none have come to fruition.
It is a pretty safe bet that online poker in MT will be regulated at some point in the future, so the only real question is when. While it’s hard to give any definitive answer at this point in time, we continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated with any important developments.
When online poker is finally legal in MT, there are a few sites that we can expect to go live. These are all operators with a major presence in the regulated US market, and they’ll likely jump at the opportunity to expand their presence.
BetMGM Poker Montana
BetMGM has established itself as a household name in the regulated US online poker space, and the operator will likely be among the first to stake a claim in such an attractive new market.
We expect BetMGM Poker will bring out a platform similar to that in other states like PA, MI, and NJ. A poker client powered by the PartyPoker technology offers a modern and very reliable solution for all online poker fans, even if it is not as rich in functionalities as some other platforms.
In terms of game variety, players can look forward to a nice mix of online tournaments, a wide range of cash game stakes, and, in all likelihood, BetMGM Poker’s staple SPINS – a hugely popular sit & go variation featuring a random jackpot.
It is also likely that BetMGM Poker MT will come out of the gate swinging, offering a generous welcome bonus. With what’s likely to be heavy competition in the state, all sites will look for ways to stand out, and this is generally a good thing for the players.
Although the company couldn’t enter the US before 2016, PokerStars has established itself as a staple name of online poker in the country, just like they have done in the global market.
Once the regulation is finally passed, the launch of PokerStars is pretty much a guarantee. This is especially true if the state passes a law with the expectation of joining the MSIGA, as the operator seems eager to take advantage of opportunities provided by interstate poker.
But even without that particular element, MT is a big enough market on its own.
What PokerStars brings to the table is the operator’s experience in organizing major online series, first and foremost. US versions of ‘COOP events have been hugely successful in all states where the site currently has a presence, and there is no reason to think Montana would be an exception.
PokerStars also offers one of the best software solutions for desktop computers and mobile devices alike. This enhances the player experience and certainly helps push the site towards the top of the list when deciding where to play.
The third MT poker site likely to go live as soon as legal requirements are met is WSOP.com. Right now, WSOP is the only operator present in all regulated US markets with active poker sites, and the company is on the constant lookout for expansion opportunities.
WSOP.com has one trump card that no other operators can match, which is its ability to host bracelet-awarding events and exclusive satellites to live World Series of Poker tournaments. This has helped the operator remain competitive across the country.
A launch in a new state would likely mean an exclusive bracelet series, giving players in the state great opportunities to win some WSOP silverware from the comfort of their home, and if past experience is any indicator, this is an opportunity that players jump on.
WSOP should have no problem claiming its fair share of the new market despite competitors, with the operators’ numbers surging during major live and online events.