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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bill Would Legalize, Tax Blackjack In Montana

Dealer lays out cards at a blackjack table.

Republican Rep. Wylie Galt says generating revenue for the state can be as simple as counting to 21, meaning, playing blackjack.House Bill 578 would legalize the card game, for both tabletop and video play, and allocate a $500 tax on each blackjack table for the state’s Department of Justice and a state special revenue account.

Department of Justice’s Gambling Control Division Administrator Angela Nunn opposes the bill.

"The amount of effort needed to regulate this correctly makes it, from a practical sense, very difficult to implement by October 1 of 2018,” Nunn said.

President of the Montana Tavern Association Jim Johnson also opposes the bill.

"We had a meeting yesterday with our local Carbon Stillwater Tavern Association of nine bar owners, none of whom are interested in having blackjack in their establishment,” Johnson said.

There were no supporters at the House Taxation Committee’s first hearing of testimony on the bill.

Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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