Header Image
Header Image

Licenses and Permits

This page is a complete list of available licenses and permits required to offer gambling in the State of Montana. Visit the forms page for all applications or forms. For guidelines on how to conduct certain gambling activities (Casino Night, Bingo, Sports Pools, Calcuttas, etc.), click here.

  • Only gambling activities that are specifically and clearly authorized in statute or rule are allowed.  All other public gambling activities are illegal. [Reference MCA 23-5-111, 23-5-112]
  • Gambling or gambling activity is defined as risking any money, credit, deposit, check, property, or other thing of value for a gain that is contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, or the operation of a gambling device or gambling enterprise. [Reference MCA 23-5-112 (13)]
  • The term does not mean conducting or participating in promotional games of chance; amusement games regulated by Title 23, chapter 6, part 1; or social card games of bridge, cribbage, hearts, pinochle, pitch, rummy, solo, and whist played solely for prizes of minimal value, as defined by department rule. [Reference MCA 23-5-112 (13)(b)]

Licenses

Accounting System Vendor License

Accounting System Vendor | Form 17

This license allows a person to sell or lease an accounting system to a licensed gambling manufacturer, route operator, or gambling operator to be utilized as an approved automated AARS.

[Reference MCA 23-5-637 & ARM 23.16-101, 23.16.1916A, 23.16.1920, 23.16.2101-2115]

Antique Illegal Gambling Device Dealer License

Antique Illegal Gambling Device Dealer LicenseForm 15

A person other than a licensed manufacturer-distributor may not sell more than three antique illegal gambling devices in a 12-month period without first obtaining from the department a license for selling the antique illegal gambling devices.

  • Antique illegal gambling devices are 1) at any present time more than 25 years old and 2) not legal for public play in Montana. [Reference MCA 23-3-112 (19) & 23-5-153 (1)].
  • The department may not issue a license to a licensed gambling operator. The fee for the license is $50, and the license is valid for 3 years from the date that the license is issued. [Reference MCA 23-5-153 (4)].
Associated Gambling Business License

Associated Gambling Business License | Form 17

This license allows associated gambling businesses, including but not limited to accounting software vendors and video gambling machine recyclers, to operate in Montana. [Reference MCA 23-5-178]

An “associated gambling business” means a person who provides a service or product to a licensed gambling business and:

  •  has a reason to possess or maintain control over gambling devices;
  •  has access to proprietary information or gambling tax information; or
  •  is a party in processing gambling transactions.

[Reference MCA 23-5-112 (3)]

Card Dealer License

Card Dealer License | Form 4 or Renew Online

This license allows a person to deal cards in a live card game of panguingue or poker.  Any license obtained after March 16, 2019 must be renewed prior to the expiration date of June 30th (the end of the fiscal year) and then every fiscal year thereafter.

Click here to learn more about recent (March 2019) Card Dealer License changes. [Reference MCA 23-5-308]

  • Except as provided in 23-5-31023-5-317, and 23-5-318, a live card game must be played on a live card game table for which a permit has been issued and on the premises of a licensed operator. Except as provided in 23-5-318, a live card game of panguingue or poker must be played in the presence and under the control of a licensed dealer. [Reference MCA 23-5-309]
Card Room Contractor License

Card Room Contractor LicenseForm 9 

This license allows a person to lease space from a licensed gambling operator to conduct legal card games. [Reference MCA 23-5-324, ARM 23.16.1245 ]

  • Except as provided in 23-5-31023-5-317, and 23-5-318, a live card game must be played on a live card game table for which a permit has been issued and on the premises of a licensed operator. Except as provided in 23-5-318, a live card game of panguingue or poker must be played in the presence and under the control of a licensed dealer. [Reference MCA 23-5-309]
Distributor License

Distributor LicenseForm 17

This license allows a person to purchase gambling equipment from and sell gambling equipment to:

  • a licensed manufacturer,
  • distributor,
  • route operator,
  • or gambling operator.

[Reference MCA 23-5-112, 23-5-128, 23-5-614,& ARM 23.16.1914]

Electronic Live Bingo/Keno Equipment Manufacturer License

Electronic Live Bingo/Keno Equipment Manufacturer LicenseForm 17

This license allows someone to manufacture electronic live bingo or keno equipment or produce, from raw materials or subparts, a completed piece of electronic equipment intended for use in the game of live bingo or keno. This does not include a person who solely installs or connects electronic live bingo or keno equipment on an operator’s premises. [Reference MCA 23-5-424, ARM 23.16.101]

Gambling Operator License

Gambling Operator LicenseForm 5 or Apply Online & See Form 5 Guide

An operator license allows a person to offer certain gambling activities to the public such as: bingo, card games, keno, sports pools, sports tabs, and video gambling machines (a permit may also be required from the department).  [Reference MCA 23-5-177 ]

  • One must also obtain an appropriate alcoholic beverage license in order to operate card games, sports pools, sports tabs, and video gambling machines. [Reference MCA 23-5-119]
  • For rules regarding gambling operator licenses see ARM Chapter 23.16 Subchapter 5
Manufacturer License

Manufacturer LicenseForm 17 (A publicly traded company uses Form 40)

This license allows a person to:

  • assemble from raw materials or subparts a completed piece of equipment or pieces of equipment of any kind to be used as a gambling device and who sells the equipment directly to a licensed distributor, route operator, or gambling operator;
  • possess gambling devices or components of gambling devices for the purpose of testing them; or
  • purchase gambling devices or components from licensed manufacturers, distributors, route operators, or gambling operators as trade-ins or to refurbish, rebuild, or repair to sell to licensed manufacturers, distributors, route operators, or operators.

A manufacturer of illegal gambling devices (not legal in Montana) is someone who assembles a completed or uncompleted piece of equipment intended for use as a gambling device which is not specifically authorized in Montana but is lawful in another jurisdiction. [Reference ARM 23.16.101]

[Reference MCA 23-5-112, 23-5-625 & ARM 23.16.1916]

Route Operator License

Route Operator LicenseForm 17

This license allows a person to purchase gambling equipment from a manufacturer, route operator, or distributor and lease the equipment to a licensed gambling operator for use by the public. A route operator may also sell authorized gambling equipment to a licensed gambling operator, distributor, or manufacturer.

The compensation that a licensed route operator may receive for leasing a video gambling machine to a licensed gambling operator is limited to a set fee or a percentage of gross machine income, or both a set fee and percentage amount. The route operator may not assume responsibility for any expenses of the gambling operator’s business except for expenses associated with:

  • paying video gambling machine permit fees and taxes;
  • conducting video gambling machine promotional activities;
  • maintaining and repairing video gambling machines;
  • supplying funds to allow an operator to exchange a player’s money for other coin or currency for operating a video gambling machine and to pay out prizes won by players;
  • providing accounting and record keeping services for video gambling machines;
  • and other activities, if allowed by department rule.

[Reference MCA 23-5-112, 23-5-129, 23-5-130,  & ARM 23.16.1915]

Sports Tab Game Seller's License

Sports Tab Game Seller’s License | Form 17

This license allows individuals to sell sports tab games to licensed gambling operators. [Reference 23-5-513]

  • Sports tab games may be conducted only on premises appropriately licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises. [Reference ARM 23.16.1720]

Taxes & Record Keeping

  • A sports tab game seller shall collect from the purchaser, at the time of sale, a tax of $1 for each board (100 sports tabs).
  • Within 15 days after the end of each calendar quarter, a seller will submit to the department any required forms and the proceeds of the tax collected.
  • Record keeping requirements apply.

[Reference MCA 23-5-502, 23-5-513, & ARM 23.16.1715, 23.16.171723.16.1718 & 23.16.1719].

Permits

Calcutta Permit

Calcutta Permit | Form 26 or Apply Online, & See Calcutta Guidelines

This permit allows the applicant to run a “Calcutta pool” which is a form of auction pool conducted by an organization authorized by the department. In a Calcutta pool, competitors in an event are “sold” to the highest bidder and the winner(s) of the pool of money is determined by the results of the event. A Calcutta auction is commonly conducted in conjunction with golf tournaments, rodeos, March Madness college basketball tournaments, etc.

[Reference MCA 23-5-221, 23-5-222 & ARM 23.16.2801 through 23.16.2806]

Casino Night Permit (Nonprofits only)

Casino Night Permit Form 11 or Apply Online & Casino Night Guide

This permit allows a nonprofit organization to hold a fundraising event in which attendees use imitation money to participate in authorized gambling activities (i.e. poker, bingo, and raffles).

[Reference MCA 23-5-701, 23-5-702, 23-5-705 & ARM 23.16.3101 through 23.16.3104]

Also see Gambling-Related Nonprofit Fundraising Guide

Card Tournaments (Large & Small Stakes)

Large Stakes Card Game Tournament Permit Form 14A

A licensed gambling operator with a permitted live card table can apply for an annual large-stakes card game (poker or panguingue) tournament permit. A large-stakes tournament permit allows the gambling operator to conduct up to 16 large-stakes tournaments (each no more than 5 consecutive days) at their licensed location during the permit year.  The permitholder must notify the division on Form 14A at least five business days before the start of a large-stakes tournament.

The permitholder may use additional live card tables (in addition to all permitted live card tables) to run the large-stakes tournament. Only a licensed card dealer may deal cards at a large-stakes tournament.  The total amount paid by a participant to enter a large-stakes tournament, including any additional purchase of chips or other payment during the tournament may not exceed $1,875.

[Reference MCA 23-5-112, 23-5-30923-5-317 & ARM 23.16.1102]

Small Stakes Card Game Tournament Permit | Form 14B

A licensed gambling operator with a permitted live card table can apply for a small-stakes card game (poker or panguingue) tournament permit. A small-stakes tournament permit allows the gambling operator to conduct daily small-stakes tournaments at their licensed location.  The permitholder may use one additional live card table (in addition to all permitted live card tables) to run the small-stakes tournament. Only a licensed card dealer may deal cards at a small-stakes poker or panguingue tournament.

The total amount paid by a participant to enter a small-stakes tournament may not exceed $80.  In a small-stakes tournament, participants may not repurchase or add chips or reenter the tournament after elimination.

Reference MCA 23-5-112, 23-5-309  & ARM 23.16.1103]

Live Bingo Permit

Live Bingo Permit Form 25 & See Bingo Guide

This permit allows a person who has been granted an operator’s license to offer live bingo. [Reference MCA 23-5-112, 23-5-407, 23-5-412 & ARM 23.16.2301 through 23.16.2410 ]

Live Card Table Permit

Live Card Table Permit | Form 29

This permit allows a person who has an appropriate alcoholic beverage license and has been granted a gambling operator’s license to place a live card table in their licensed location for the purposes of playing poker or panguingue.

[Reference MCA 23-5-11923-5-306 through 23-5-331 & ARM 23.16.1201 through 23.16.1246]

Live Keno Permit

Live Keno Permit | Form 25

This permit allows a person who has been granted a gambling operator’s license to offer live keno.  Live keno is a game of chance in which prizes are awarded using a card with 8 horizontal rows and 10 columns on which a player may pick up to 10 numbers. A keno caller, using authorized equipment, selects at random at least 20 numbers out of numbers between 1 and 80, inclusive.

[Reference MCA 23-5-112, 23-5-405 through 23-5-409, 23-5-412 & ARM 23.16.1301 through 23.16.1306]

Special Bingo Session Permit

Special Bingo Session Permit | Form 38

 

This permit allows live bingo permitholders to conduct a “special bingo session” in which the total bingo prize payout limit is $5,000 (as opposed to a $3,000 limit during a regular bingo session).  During the special bingo session, a single bingo game prize may not exceed the value of $800.

Only licensed gambling operators with a live bingo permit may apply for a permit to conduct a special bingo session. At least 30 days must elapse between the conclusion of one special bingo session and the beginning of the next special bingo session. A licensee may apply for up to five special bingo sessions per year.

[Reference MCA 23-5-412 & ARM 23.16.2406, 23.16.2411]

Video Gambling Machine Permit

Video Gambling Machine Permit | Form 8 or Apply Online

This permit allows a person who has an appropriate alcoholic beverage license and has been granted a gambling operator’s license to place a video gambling machine on their licensed premises for public play.  A gambling operator may only permit and make available up to 20 machines at any given time.

[Reference MCA 23-5-119, 23-5-603, 23-5-611, 23-5-612 & ARM 23.16.1801 through 23.16.1829]

X