Virtual Sports Might Be Splashing Down In Oregon

Posted on March 30, 2018

The Oregon Lottery is in talks to team up with Inspired Entertainment in a deal that will bring virtual sports to the Beaver State through brick & mortar lottery retailers.

According to a Jan. 19 memo, the Lottery ” believes it is in its best, and the public’s best, interest to directly negotiate with Inspired Entertainment, LLC as the provider for virtual sports.”

The memo cites the opportunity to generate new revenues as well as the need to expand its current player base as the justifications for adding virtual sports to its catalog of lottery games.

Three-phase rollout could include online lottery

According to the memo, the Oregon Lottery will “introduce Virtual Sports through a limited brick and mortar retailer test to the Oregon market,” in the spring/summer of 2018.

After that, there will be a full rollout at brick & mortar lottery retailers in the late-summer/fall of 2018.

The memo also leaves the door open for online virtual sports and full online lottery down the road:

Future Phases – Based on market performance and technology, the Lottery will evaluate the viability of future phase work, which may include, but not limited to:

  • Mobile virtual sports at brick and mortar retailers
  • Full mobile transactions

Expanding the Traditional product portfolio to include virtual sports bridges the monitor style of game play, much like the Keno game, but introduces new mobile and sports aspects that position the Lottery for full iLotto and mobile offerings, enabling new revenue opportunities.

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Virtual sports in the US

Oregon isn’t the first state to travel down the virtual sports road.

Two US lotteries already authorized virtual sports: Pennsylvania and Michigan. Neither has launched its virtual sports betting products at this time.

However, virtual sports are available in the US.

Authorized virtual sports at casinos are up and running in two states: Nevada and New Jersey.

Different virtual sports products are available at land-based sports books in Nevada, and through online casinos in New Jersey.

Like Oregon, all of the states offering virtual sports are partners with Inspired Entertainment.

Oregon would be the seventh state to legalize online lottery

The possibility of a full online lottery was first broached last summer, when Oregon’s lottery director, Barry Pack, told the Portland Tribune:

“Our focus is on the opportunity for the Lottery to join the current century and engage players on a platform they want. There are lots of people playing games on mobile devices. Naturally, they would want to play the lottery there.”

Interestingly, Oregon might be able to authorize online lottery products without legislation. Oregon’s lottery law grants the Lottery Commission a lot of latitude in approving new games.

If approved, Oregon would join a growing list of states with online lotteries:

  1. Illinois – Online lottery went live in March 2012
  2. Georgia – Online lottery went live in November 2012
  3. Michigan – Online lottery went live in August 2014
  4. Kentucky – Online lottery went live in April 2016
  5. New Hampshire – Online lottery sales are expected to begin in early 2018
  6. Pennsylvania — Online lottery sales are expected to launch sometime in 2018

Photo by Joshua Rainey Photography / Shutterstock.com

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Steve Ruddock

Steve Ruddock is an avid poker player and a veteran member of the gaming media. His primary focus is on the regulated US online casino and poker markets. He writes for numerous online and print publications, including OnlinePokerReport.com, USPoker.com, and USA Today.

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