DOJ: News Release

Bullock Assures NCAA that Montana Law Does Not Prohibit Playoff Games

Attorney General clarifies sports gambling laws, hopes to “put issue behind us”

HELENA – After recent reports that the NCAA would no longer allow playoff games to be held in Montana, Attorney General Steve Bullock has clarified Montana’s laws regarding sports gambling and assured the Association that those laws do not run afoul of NCAA regulations.

“Montana has been the proud host to over 30 NCAA tournament games since 1991. We have a long history of supporting our student athletes, collegiate athletics and the NCAA. I hope the information lays to rest the NCAA’s concerns and helps to put this issue behind us,” Bullock wrote in a letter sent Tuesday.

Bullock, as Attorney General, is Montana’s chief legal official and also head of the agency that regulates most forms of gambling in the state.

In his letter to NCAA General Counsel Elsa Kircher Cole, Bullock debunks the NCAA’s contention that Montana law allows gambling on the outcome of a sporting event and therefore makes the state ineligible to host playoff games. Bullock notes that, at multiple points in Montana’s Constitution and legal code, it is explicitly stated that gambling on the outcome of a sporting event is prohibited.

Bullock wrote the letter to provide “clarification of Montana’s legal sports-related gambling, and assist the NCAA in understanding that the limited forms of gambling we allow do not undermine or frustrate the NCAA’s legitimate concerns about demeaning the integrity of competition or the competitors.”

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