The gambling outlook in Montana

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but Montana might just prove that adage wrong. The Treasure State, with its vast landscapes and cowboy spirit, has been riding the gambling rodeo for quite some time, and let me tell you, it's been one heck of a ride.

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📖 Published on: June 15th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 1 month ago

⏳ 21 mins read

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Now, I've been around the block a few times, covering the ins and outs of the gambling industry from Vegas to Atlantic City, but Montana? It's a horse of a different color. While the state has its boots firmly planted in traditional gambling avenues like card rooms and tribal casinos, it's been slow to tip its hat to the digital age of online gambling. But don't count it out just yet. As the saying goes, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings." Montana's been playing its cards close to the vest, especially when it comes to online gambling. But with the winds of change blowing, there's a buzz in the air that Big Sky Country might just roll the dice and take a gamble on the future. After all, in the world of gambling, sometimes you've got to bet big to win big. So, will Montana go all in or fold? Only time will tell. But one thing's for sure: when it comes to the gambling outlook in Montana, you can bet your bottom dollar that it's going to be one wild ride.

Montana gambling laws and regulations

Ah, Montana! The Big Sky Country, where the deer and the antelope play, and where the gambling scene has its own unique set of rules. Now, I've seen my fair share of gambling regulations from coast to coast, but Montana's playbook is something else.

First off, Montana ain't the Wild West when it comes to gambling. They've got a clear-cut definition of what's kosher and what's not. If you're thinking of risking your hard-earned cash or any other valuables on a game of chance, you're stepping into the realm of gambling, Montana-style. But hold your horses! Not all gambling is considered illegal. The state gives a nod to licensed card rooms, tribal casinos, and horse racing. But, and it's a big but, they've drawn a line in the sand when it comes to online gambling. So, if you're looking to place your bets in Montana, better know the lay of the land first!


What is considered as legal gambling

In the vast expanse of Montana, where the mountains touch the sky and rivers carve the land, there's a clear distinction between what's on the up-and-up and what's not in the gambling world. Now, I've been around the gambling block, and Montana sure has its own flavor. For starters, if you're hankering for some poker action, Montana's got your back. Licensed card rooms are as legit as apple pie. And those tribal casinos? You betcha! They're on the straight and narrow, offering everything from slot games to various gaming machines. Horse racing enthusiasts can have a field day with on-track pari-mutuel wagering. And let's not forget the classics: bingo, raffles, and the state lottery. So, if you're in Big Sky Country and looking to try your luck, these are your safe bets!


What is considered as illegal gambling

In the vast expanse of Montana, where the mountains touch the sky and rivers carve the land, there's a clear distinction between what's on the up-and-up and what's not in the gambling world. Now, I've been around the gambling block, and Montana sure has its own flavor. For starters, if you're hankering for some poker action, Montana's got your back. Licensed card rooms are as legit as apple pie. And those tribal casinos? You betcha! They're on the straight and narrow, offering everything from slot games to various gaming machines. Horse racing enthusiasts can have a field day with on-track pari-mutuel wagering. And let's not forget the classics: bingo, raffles, and the state lottery. So, if you're in Big Sky Country and looking to try your luck, these are your safe bets!


Legal age to gamble in Montana

Alright, all you eager beavers out there, let's get one thing straight: Montana might be vast with its sprawling landscapes and endless skies, but when it comes to laying down your chips, they've set some clear boundaries. Age ain't nothing but a number, they say, but in Montana, it's the golden ticket to the gambling rodeo.Now, if you're itching to scratch off a lottery ticket or shout 'Bingo!' with the best of 'em, you've got to have 18 candles on your birthday cake. But hold onto your horses! For those looking to try their luck at video poker machines or rub elbows with high rollers at the casinos, you'll need to wait a tad longer. That magic number is 21. So, youngsters, while Montana's gambling scene might beckon, make sure you've hit the age jackpot first!

Real money casinos in Montana

Montana, the land of blue skies and rugged terrains, isn't just about cowboys and open ranges. It's also a place where folks can try their luck and chase those big wins. Now, I've seen neon lights from Vegas to Atlantic City, but Montana's casino scene has its own unique charm.

First off, if you're thinking of online casinos, pump the brakes! Montana's still mulling over that digital frontier. But fear not, because the Treasure State has its fair share of brick-and-mortar establishments. Tribal casinos are the real deal here, offering a mix of slot games and gaming machines. And while you won't find the glitz and glamor of traditional table games, there's no shortage of card rooms and poker parlors. So, whether you're a local or just passing through, Montana's real money casinos offer a slice of action where the stakes are as vast as the sky above.

Casinos montana


Online casinos

In the digital age, where you can order a steak dinner or hail a ride with a few taps on your phone, you'd think Montana would be all in on the online casino bandwagon. But, my friends, that's where the plot thickens. While many states have embraced the virtual felt of online casinos, Montana is playing it coy.As of now, Big Sky Country has yet to jump on the online casino train. State laws, last updated in 2005, have put the kibosh on internet gambling. It's a bit like having a shiny new toy just out of reach. But don't lose hope! The winds of change are always blowing, and who knows what the future holds?For now, Montanans looking for that online casino thrill will have to keep their chips in their pockets and their eyes on the horizon.


Land-based casinos

When you think of Montana, vast landscapes and cowboy tales might come to mind. But nestled within its sprawling valleys and towering peaks are some hidden gems for those with a penchant for gambling. You betcha, I'm chattin' about those brick-and-mortar casinos, the real heartbeat of Montana's betting world.Now, don't expect the glitz and glamor of Vegas boulevards. Montana's casinos have a more laid-back, rustic charm. But what they lack in neon, they make up for in genuine, authentic experiences. From bustling card rooms where poker faces are tested, to intimate slots parlors echoing with the sweet sound of jackpots, there's a spot for every gambler.And while you won't find mega-resorts with flashy shows, Montana's land-based casinos offer a unique blend of traditional games and local flavor. So, saddle up and head on over; Montana's casinos are waiting to deal you in!


Tribal casinos

In the heart of Big Sky Country, where traditions run deep and the spirit of the Old West is alive and well, tribal casinos stand as a testament to Montana's rich Native American heritage. These ain't just spots to throw some dice; they're where old-school traditions meet today's fun and games.Montana's tribal casinos are the crown jewels of the state's gaming scene. Operated by Native American tribes under the protective wing of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), these establishments offer more than just slot games and gaming machines. They're a celebration of tribal history, art, and community.While you might not find the high-stakes table games synonymous with Vegas, the ambiance here is second to none. From the rhythmic beats of tribal drums to the warm hospitality, Montana's tribal casinos offer a gaming experience that's as authentic as it gets. So, ante up and immerse yourself in a world where tradition meets the thrill of the gamble.


Shipboard and floating casinos

Ahoy, gamblers! When you think of Montana, vast landlocked terrains might spring to mind, but what about the high seas of gambling? Well, not quite the "high seas," but the concept of shipboard and floating casinos is an intriguing one. Now, while some states have embraced the allure of waterborne wagers, Montana's stance on this nautical novelty remains anchored.To date, Big Sky Country hasn't set sail on the shipboard and floating casino trend. The state's vast lakes and rivers might seem like prime real estate for such ventures, but for now, they remain untapped waters in the gambling world.However, in the ever-evolving landscape of gaming, who's to say what the tide will bring? While Montana's gamblers might not be boarding floating casinos anytime soon, the dream of rolling dice on the deck under the Montana sky remains a tantalizing possibility



Melding the thrill of horse racing with the electric buzz of casino gaming, racinos have galloped into the hearts of gamblers in many states. But what about Montana, the land where the spirit of the frontier still rides strong? Well, saddle up, because here's the lowdown.As of now, Montana hasn't fully embraced the racino concept. While the state is no stranger to horse racing, with its on-track pari-mutuel wagering, the fusion of racetracks with casino-style gaming hasn't made a mark yet. It's like having a cowboy without his trusty lasso.But, as any seasoned gambler knows, the game can change in the blink of an eye. As racinos gain traction nationwide, there's always a chance Montana might one day jump on the bandwagon. Until then, the dream of a one-stop-shop for horse racing and slot action in Big Sky Country remains just over the horizon.


Off-track betting

In the vast expanse of Montana, where the echoes of hooves once signaled the approach of the frontier, a different kind of horse power resonates today. Enter off-track betting (OTB), the modern gambler's way to feel the rush of the racetrack without being trackside.

While Montana is no stranger to the world of horse racing, the concept of OTB allows enthusiasts to place wagers on races happening far from home. It's like having a window to racetracks from around the country, right in your backyard.

Though specifics about Montana's OTB scene might be sparse, the essence is clear: it's a nod to the state's love for horse racing, modernized for today's bettor. Whether you're in a bustling city or a quiet town, OTB in Montana offers a taste of the track, bringing the distant thunder of hooves a little closer to home.

Nearest land based casinos

We've compiled a list of the most trusted land-based casinos if you're searching for "Montana casinos near me":

Charging Horse Casino & Bingo
Charging Horse Casino and Bingo, located in Lame Deer Montana, offers a variety of entertainment for all ages with 'Class II' and 'Class III' gaming devices that look like slot machines, but are actually bingo games and the spinning reels are for "entertainment purposes only". Bingo is available Thursday-Sunday, and the casino is open from 8am-2am daily. Overnight RV parking is currently free.
1/2 U.S. 212, Lame Deer, MT 59043
Phone Number:
(406) 477-6677
Apsaalooke Nights Casino
Apsaalooke Nights Casino, in Crow Agency, Montana, offers a 4,000-square feet gaming floor with Class II video gaming devices that resemble slot machines, but are actually bingo games. The spinning reels of the gaming machines are for "entertainment purposes only," and provide a unique gaming experience for visitors. The casino features all the amenities of a full-scale gaming center with the added value of its distinctively Montana surroundings.
71 Heritage Rd., Crow Agency, MT 59022
Phone Number:
(406) 638-4440
Glacier Peaks Hotel & Casino
Glacier Peaks Hotel and Casino is the perfect destination in Browning, Montana. Boasting 86 rooms and 14 suites with price ranges ranging from $170-$185 and $198-$210 respectively, it's a great place for anyone looking for a pleasant and enjoyable stay. On-site amenities include a restaurant and snack bar, as well as some fun games, such as bingo, a poker room and exciting class II video gaming devices (which look like slots but are actually bingo games with the spinning reels for entertainment only). The casino also offers free overnight RV parking (must check in with security first) and a dump station. The hours are 10am to 12am daily.
209 N. Piegan Street, Browning, MT 59417
Phone Number:
(406) 338-5751
Fort Belknap Casino
Fort Belknap Casino, located in the vibrant town of Harlem in Montana, provides an incredible gaming experience for visitors. With a wide selection of Video Poker, Slots, Table Games, and Sports Betting, you can try your luck at something new or stick to your favorite games. Enjoy the small-town Montana vibe of Harlem while playing slots or betting on a game. Fort Belknap offers a great gaming experience that'll make you come back time and time again.
104 Assiniboine Avenue, Harlem, MT 59526
Phone Number:
(406) 353-2235
Silver Wolf Casino
Silver Wolf Casino, located in the small town of Wolf Point, Montana, offers a great destination for those who want to explore Class II video gaming devices that look like slot machines. The casino is open 10am-12am/2am (Friday-Saturday), and offers Bingo and Class II video game machines with spinning reels designed solely for entertainment. There is no liquor served and overnight RV parking is free, unfortunately there is no RV dump. Step inside the Silver Wolf Casino and experience gambling entertainment at its best!
300 Highway 25 East, Wolf Point, MT 59201
Phone Number:
(406) 653-3475
Northern Winz Hotel & Casino
Northern Winz Hotel & Casino is the perfect destination for gaming enthusiasts in Box Elder, Montana. Offering a wide selection of Poker, Keno, and Class II video gaming devices, it provides an unforgettable experience. These devices look like slot machines, but are actually fun bingo games, with spinning reels for additional entertainment. For those wanting to stay overnight, this facility does not offer overnight RV parking, but plenty of other accommodation options are available. And, for those wanting to enjoy a cold beverage, this casino does not have a liquor license.
Agency Road, Box Elder, MT 59521
Phone Number:
(406) 395-4863
KwaTaqNuk Casino Resort
KwaTaqNuk Casino Resort is situated in the scenic town of E. Polson, Montana. Boasting 111 rooms ranging from $95-$265, and a variety of dining options and gaming activities, this casino is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. With an impressive selection of Class II video gaming devices that look like slot machines, there is something for everyone. The resort also features a nonsmoking casino and free overnight RV parking and RV dump. Check out KwaTaqNuk's hours, 10am-1am daily, for even more fun and entertainment.
303 Highway 93, E. Polson, MT 59860
Phone Number:
(406) 883-3636
Northern Winz Casino
Northern Winz Casino is an exciting casino located in Box Elder, Montana. Situated near US Highway 87, the 10,000 sq. ft. casino is open 10am-9:30pm Tuesday through Sunday and offers a variety of games including poker (Thursday-Saturday), bingo, and Class II video gaming devices that act like slot machines, but actually are bingo games with the spinning reels being for "entertainment purposes only." Alcoholic beverages are available and overnight RV parking is not permitted. So, take the trip to Box Elder and test your luck at Northern Winz Casino!
11275 US Highway 87, Box Elder, MT 59521
Phone Number:
(406) 395-5420
Gray Wolf Peak Casino
Gray Wolf Peak Casino in Missoula, Montana, is located in the heart of the Rockies. Inside you'll find the world’s most entertaining slot machines, a selection of delicious restaurants, and some of the most friendly service around. The casino is home to two restaurants, that serve anything from burgers to steak, plus two of the most popular Class II gaming devices around. Outside, take advantage of the free RV parking and RV dump facilities, perfect for any weary travelers. For your entertainment needs in the mountains, Gray Wolf Peak Casino is the premier choice.
20750 US Highway 93 North, Missoula, MT 59808
Phone Number:
(406) 726-3778
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Sports betting

In the realm of gambling, sports betting is the adrenaline-pumping, edge-of-your-seat kind of action. And in Montana, where the spirit of competition runs as deep as its rivers, the game is on. Now, while the state might be more renowned for its natural beauty than its bookies, don't be fooled.

Montana has taken a shot at the sports betting hoop, and it's nothing but net. With the green light given to regulated sports wagering, residents can now place their bets on their favorite teams and athletes. From the slam dunks of basketball to the touchdowns of football, the betting menu is diverse.

It ain't just about the adrenaline rush; it's about the folks, the buddy vibes, and that collective love for the game. In Montana, sports betting ain't just killing time; it's a big ol' nod to that competitive fire that makes this place tick.

Social casinos

In the digital age, where connections are often made with a click rather than a handshake, Montana's gamblers have found a new playground: social casinos. Now, before you envision a glitzy Vegas-style establishment, let's set the record straight. Social casinos are a different beast altogether.

These online platforms allow folks to enjoy casino games without wagering real money. Imagine it's like Facebook met Vegas in a digital mash-up. Players in Montana can spin slots, deal cards, and roll dice, all while interacting with friends and fellow enthusiasts.

But it's not just about the games.It's all about the buddy vibes, swapping stories, and getting that rush, even if it's just for digital bragging rights. In a state as vast as Montana, social casinos bridge distances, bringing together a community of gamblers under the vast digital sky. It's where the heart of Big Sky Country meets the virtual frontier.

Daily fantasy sports

In the heart of Montana, where traditions of the old meet the innovations of the new, daily fantasy sports (DFS) have carved out a niche of their own. It's not your grandpa's pick-up game; this is where strategy meets sport in the digital arena. DFS allows sports enthusiasts in Big Sky Country to don the hat of a team manager, drafting real-world athletes to their virtual teams. As these athletes perform in real-life games, fantasy points rack up, and bragging rights are earned. From the gridiron clashes of football to the slam dunks of the basketball court, DFS covers it all. While Montana has its unique stance on DFS, with the Montana Lottery offering a restricted type of fantasy football betting, the passion for the game is undeniable. It's a blend of sports knowledge, strategic planning, and a dash of luck, all played out on the digital stage of Montana's vast landscape.


Ah, Bingo! A game that transcends generations, from bustling community halls to quiet family gatherings. In Montana, where community spirit is as vast as the skies, Bingo holds a special place in the hearts of many. It's not just a game; it's a tradition.

In the Treasure State, Bingo isn't just about daubing numbers and shouting out in victory.It's a get-together, where people from all over, no matter their background, come to hang out and share some good times. The anticipation as numbers are called, the camaraderie among players, and the sheer joy of a winning card make it a beloved pastime.

Regulated and embraced, Bingo in Montana is more than just a game of chance.It's all about that Montana spirit, where folks gather, have a good chuckle, and if luck's on their side, leave with a bit more jingle in their jeans.


In the saloons and taverns of old Montana, amidst the clink of whiskey glasses and the hum of hushed conversations, a game of strategy was taking root: Poker. Fast forward to today, and the game has evolved, but its essence remains unchanged in the heart of Big Sky Country.

Poker in Montana isn't just about holding the right cards; it's about playing the player. It's a mental joust, a test of wit and nerve. From Texas Hold'em to Omaha, the variations are many, but the goal is singular: to outsmart, outplay, and outlast.

With licensed card rooms dotting the state, poker enthusiasts can find a table that suits their style and stakes. And while the allure of online poker beckons many, the tactile thrill of holding cards and reading opponents in person is unmatched. In Montana, poker is a legacy of strategy, skill, and the eternal chase for the perfect hand.

Gambling tips

Alright, all you Montana mavericks looking to dive into the gambling scene, pull up a chair and lend an ear. Whether you're a newbie or an old hand, a bit of savvy can mean the difference between hitting the jackpot and going belly up.

  • Know your limits: Montana's vast landscapes might seem endless, but your bankroll isn't. Set a budget and stick to it, come rain or shine.
  • Stay informed: Montana's gambling laws can be as twisty as its mountain roads. Stay updated on the do's and don'ts to avoid any rough patches.
  • Play smart: Whether it's poker, slots, or bingo, knowledge is power.
  • Seek balance: Remember, gambling is just one of the many adventures Montana offers.

When in doubt, ask: Montana's gambling community is tight-knit. If you're unsure about something, there's always a local willing to share some wisdom.

So, saddle up, play smart, and may Lady Luck ride with you under the vast Montana sky!

The history

Dive deep into Montana's past, and you'll find a rich mosaic of gambling tales that mirror the state's pioneering spirit. From the early days of frontier towns to the modern era, gambling has been an integral thread in Montana's fabric. In the late 1800s, as settlers poured into Montana, saloons and taverns became the epicenters of gambling. Dice games, poker, and roulette wheels echoed with the hopes and dreams of many. However, by 1889, the state's stance shifted, declaring all forms of gambling illegal, reflecting the changing tides of societal views. But the love for the game couldn't be quelled. By 1937, licensed gambling made a comeback, only to face another ban in the 1950s. Come the 1970s, the tide turned, ushering in a fresh wave of by-the-book gambling. Today, Montana's gambling scene is a blend of tradition and innovation, a testament to its ever-evolving relationship with the world of wagers.


The future

As the sun sets over Montana's vast horizons, casting long shadows over its storied past, the dawn of a new era in gambling beckons. The future, as they say, is a wild card, and in Big Sky Country, the stakes are high. With the digital age in full swing, Montana stands at a crossroads.The pull of online gambling, with its flashy convenience and cool new features, is pretty darn tempting. While the state has been cautious, the growing national trend towards online gaming might just tip the scales. Tribal casinos, a cornerstone of Montana's gambling scene, might also see expansions, embracing newer games and technologies. And as sports betting gains traction nationwide, Montana could soon join the fray in a bigger way.

Responsible gaming in Montana

In the heart of Montana, where the spirit of adventure runs deep, there's a commitment to ensuring that the thrill of the gamble doesn't overshadow the well-being of its people. Responsible gaming isn't just a catchphrase here; it's a cornerstone of Montana's approach to gambling.

Montana gets it – while gambling's a hoot for many, it can be a tough ride for some. That's why resources like the Montana Council on Problem Gambling and the Montana Department of Justice's Gambling Control Division are in place, offering support, education, and intervention.

From self-exclusion programs to helplines, Montana ensures that those who need assistance have it within arm's reach. Montana sure looks out for its folks, making sure everyone can have a good time without it costing their peace of mind. In Montana, responsible gaming is about striking a balance, ensuring that every bet is placed with care and awareness.


What is the legality of online gambling in Montana?

Online gambling is currently illegal in Montana. The state laws were updated in 2005 to specifically prohibit internet gambling. While there are some forms of online betting, like fantasy sports through the Montana Lottery, traditional online casinos and poker sites are not permitted.

How does Montana regulate online gambling sites?

Montana ain't too keen on online gambling, and the folks over at the Montana Department of Justice's Gambling Control Division make sure of that. They keep a close eye on all gambling happenings in the state, making sure no shady online gambling sites try any funny business within Montana's lines.

Can I use a VPN to gamble online from Montana?

While using a VPN can mask your location and allow access to online gambling sites, it's essential to note that gambling online from Montana, even with a VPN, is still illegal. Using a VPN to bypass restrictions can also violate the terms of service of many online gambling platforms, leading to potential account closures or loss of funds.

Are there any legal online casinos in Montana?

No, there are no legal online casinos in Montana. The state has not legalized online casino gaming, and any operation offering such services within the state's borders would be considered illegal.

Katarina Oakshore
Editor | Casinos and Gambling

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