HELENA, Mont. (AP) — An investment group from Billings has filed a lawsuit against the Montana Lottery over rules that require businesses wishing to offer sports gambling to have specific alcohol licenses.
The lawsuit, filed in Lewis and Clark County by the Arete Group, argues legislation that authorized sports wagering did not include the alcohol license requirement.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction preventing the Montana Lottery from issuing sports wagering licenses until the matter is resolved, the Independent Record reported. It also asks that the Arete Group be granted a sports wagering license without the required alcohol license.
The Legislature passed a bill allowing the Montana Lottery to oversee wagering on the outcome of college and professional sporting events.
"Not once in that bill does it state that you need a liquor license," said Lyndon Scheveck, the attorney representing Arete Group during a late October hearing before the State Lottery and Sports Wagering Commission regarding the rule changes. “They're trying to add a requirement that wasn't even in the bill.”
The commission approved the rules in December and has begun taking applications for sports wagering licenses.
Montana Lottery officials, responding to the lawsuit filed in late December, said the legislation authorizes the state lottery to create rules to implement sports wagering. State law requires bars and restaurants that offer gambling activities to have an alcoholic beverage license, lottery officials said.
The lottery has received applications from more than 100 businesses for sports wagering licenses, but it has not issued any yet, Jennifer McKee, Montana Lottery spokeswoman, said Thursday.