Montana Lottery won't challenge sports betting ruling

Montana Lottery won’t appeal an October court ruling opening up sports betting to businesses that don't have an alcoholic beverage license.

Spokeswoman Jennifer McKee said Thursday that even with the beverage rule overturned, Montana Lottery officials believe the state could “continue in the tradition of controlled, responsible expansion of lottery gaming.”

“Removing one section of just one part of our licensing requirements doesn’t meaningfully disrupt the entire foundation,” McKee said.

The Montana Legislature authorized sports betting in 2019.

In October, Lewis and Clark County District Judge Kathy Seeley found that in creating rules to carry out the new sports betting law, the Montana Lottery ran contrary to lawmakers’ intent when it required an alcoholic beverage license.

“If the Legislature intended to limit sports wagering facilities in this way, the Legislature could have done so,” the judge wrote. “The Court will not insert a provision that the Legislature omitted.”

Billings attorney Lyndon Scheveck filed a lawsuit challenging the rule. After the October ruling, he said he hoped to open a business that offered sports betting and the ruling gave him more leeway.