Montana Lottery Takes a Fantasy Football Gamble

The state of Montana is all set to introduce a brand-new way to satisfy both the fantasy football connoisseur and the suckers who buy lottery tickets. Beginning this season, you will be able to stroll into one of many designated Montana watering holes, fill out a fantasy lottery ticket with your choice of NFLers (1QB, 1RB, 1WR, 1TE, 1K & 1Def), and plop down some cash in hopes of scoring the most points.

Montana Lottery Tim Donaghy

(Good thing Tim Donaghy wasn’t an *NFL* referee.)

If successful, you will be rewarded with your share of the state-run prize pool. If not (the more likely option), they are hoping you return the following week and try again. The cash that Montana is expected to generate from the game will go towards restoring the fledgling horse racing industry in the state, which was forced to close three race tracks within the past two years.

Ahhh, nothing like bailing out a gambling industry with more gambling.


The scoring mirrors that of traditional fantasy football, with points awarded for things like touchdowns, yards gained, field goals, and defensive shutouts. The game, however, will pay out like a traditional lottery, with the top three point-scoring players each week collecting 74% of revenue from the week’s statewide ticket sales. If there is a tie for first, second, or third places, the purse will be divided depending on the amount paid for the ticket. So a $5 ticket that finishes in the top three will pay out in one “share,” while a $20 ticket with the same point total will pay out four shares.

Of course, since this lotto is not endorsed in any way by the NFL, you won’t be able to pick your players by name. Instead, ticket buyers fill out a series of numbers that coincide with the team’s host city and player’s jersey numbers. For example, if you would like Tavaris Jackson to be your quarterback, you should just rip up your ticket now would select ‘18-07′ -the ‘18′ for Minnesota and the ‘07′ for his jersey number.

Perhaps the best part about this game, though, is the option of a “quick-pick”, meaning the computer would automatically generate your team for you. I understand the concept of “quick-pick” for the 3-digit lotto, but it completely defeats the purpose of a fantasy game. So if you’re too lazy to punch up 6 numbers yourself, you run the risk of getting stuck with a fantasy roster consisting of Troy Smith, Nick Goings, Hank Baskett, Ben Hartsock, Billy Cundiff and the Arizona Cardinals’ defense.

Good luck, Montanians!