The state of Montana has a long and rather tangled history with legalized gambling. While the specifics have changed multiple times over the decades, currently the state allows certain types of gambling, but only under tightly regulated conditions.
Many small businesses in the state rely on gambling to bring in much-needed income, and they do their best to comply with all regulations. However, they can sometimes fall afoul of the rules and find their licenses in jeopardy.
The Gambling Control Division is in charge of regulating all gambling in Montana, with the exception of the state lottery and horse racing. (The federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act governs gambling on Native American land.)
The Gambling Control Division allows certain live gambling events such as poker, keno and bingo. It also has the State Lottery and sports betting.
Smaller businesses often rely on the income from video gambling machines, but these are tightly controlled.
Grounds for denial
Generally speaking, businesses cannot legally engage in gambling without a license from the government through the Gambling Control Division.
When you apply for a license, the Gambling Control Division first investigates you and your business to determine whether you meet its criteria. State law gives a number of grounds for denial or refusing to renew a gambling license, including:
- The applicant attempted to mislead the authorities in its application or failed to provide requested records
- The applicant was convicted of a felony within five years before the application, or remains on probation or parole pursuant to a felony conviction
- The applicant was involved in any cheating, even at another establishment
- The applicant did not cooperate with government investigations into gambling, corruption or organized crime
- The applicant had previously been convicted of certain crimes related to gambling in any jurisdiction
These are just some of the grounds for denying or refusing to renew a license. In fact, the state has wide discretion to deny a license with or without prejudice.
What to do if your application has been denied
If your application is denied or your license is not renewed, the division will notify you in writing. To contest its decision, you can request a hearing. You must do this in writing within 20 days.
An administrative hearing is not as formal as a trial, but it has a number of technical requirements and formalities. It is important to seek out experienced help for this part of the process.