Montana Changes Liquor Licensing System to Auctions, But Quotas Remain

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Montana is one of several states with a liquor license quota system, meaning that the number of liquor licenses available are capped based on population. The Montana legislature wants to move to competitive bidding auctions for licenses in an effort to raise more revenue, but the quota system appears to be here to stay--which ensures liquor licenses will remain artificially inflated, costing up to $750,000 in the stateThe Missoulian reports:

"Montana lawmakers drastically changed the system by which liquor licenses are obtained from a lottery to a competitive bidding auction during the recent special session...

Montana has had a lottery-based system for obtaining liquor licenses since about 1945. New licenses were essentially free, although fees were attached.

Under the new system, anyone who wants to buy a license must bid at an auction held by the state. The minimum bid will be three-quarters of the market value, as determined by the DOR. In Missoula, that could be more than half a million dollars, as several liquor licenses were recently listed for sale for $750,000..."

Read the rest here.