HELENA — When sports bettors in Montana opened up their Sports Bet Montana app or checked out a terminal last week, they might have seen a plethora of new sports like badminton, handball, and many other Olympic events.
Jennifer McKee, communications manager for the Montana Lottery and Sports Bet Montana, said the process of bringing in betting line on the Olympic games has been in the works for months as they waited to ensure the Games would truly happen, but aside from that, the process was relatively simple.
"There's a process to it, but it's actually not that complex. Our trading desk does global lines on everything and they were going to do global lines on the Olympics for us and everyone else who uses that trading desk, which is everyone who has an Intralot contract. They specialize in sports betting. So for them, it was really just dialing up what they were already doing," said McKee.
Sports Bet Montana is offering betting lines on Olympic events such as table tennis and handball, which are not exactly high-profile sports, but McKee noted they’re offering lines on these sports because they’re trying to reach a broad spectrum of bettors.
"We want to offer as much as we possibly can. So we know we're going to be offering things that people don't really have a lot of interest in, but you never know what will catch somebody's eye. You know, you never know what somebody out there really cares about," said McKee.
Since Sports Bet Montana terminals and app were introduced, nearly $45 million has been wagered over more than 500 days, including times where terminals were unavailable to the public during the Coronavirus pandemic. In that span, more than $15 million has been wagered on basketball and nearly $9 million was wagered on football.
There is no data available on total money wagered on Olympic events quite yet, but from McKee's perspective, the rollout of these betting lines has gone swimmingly.
"It really has kind of rolled out smoothly and I guess that's the thing we've learned is that it is possible to stand up betting around the biggest sports event, you know, in the world."
The Olympic Games wrap up on August 8.