Yes, Online Sports Betting Is Coming To Oregon, But How Soon? Very Soon.

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Oregon sports betting 2019

Oregon Lottery spokesperson Matthew Shelby has announced that the Lottery plans to get legal online sports betting up and running before the start of the NFL season on Sept. 5, 2019.

Talking on a podcast with OregonLive, Shelby said:

“We’re targeting NFL this year, launching our sports betting offering… mobile first just because it’s faster and then follow up with a sports-betting kiosk… it’s going to be much more than that sports action we offered. We’re looking at a full sports book.”

That timeline was confirmed in an Oregon Lottery meeting on Friday. Oregon has been working on the issue for awhile.

The lottery is launching its service via a stand-alone sportsbook. It isn’t building a new product, but is buying “off-the-shelf.”

The sportsbook supplier is SBTech. The Oregon Lottery selected the company on March 13 this year and issued a Notice of Intent a week later. Second-placed Scientific Games complained, but it looks like the SBTech deal is going ahead.

More details came out during the Oregon Lottery – Commission Meeting on May 31, 2019.

What legal sports betting will be on offer in Oregon

The Oregon Lottery made a presentation to the Commission in which it set out the bare bones of its sports betting plans.

The new sports betting product will offer three betting categories:

  • Single Event — Betting on the outcome of a single match or sporting event.
  • Parlay — Chaining bets together to create the possibility of a large win for a small outlay. All elements of the parlay must hit for the customer to win.
  • In-Game — Bets on events that happen after a game has started.

Wager types look fairly standard:

Sports betting will be available on  three platforms:

  • Mobile Devices — All options available.
  • Kiosks — All options available but in-game betting options will be less convenient because of the need to access the kiosk.
  • Lottery Retailers — Parlay and single event only — in-game not practical.

Players will be able to sign -up online but will be required to set their own deposit limits when they do. These can be daily, weekly or monthly.

Responsible gaming is a big part of the Lottery’s roll-out plan.  The presentation to the Commission spend the majority of its time explaining the Responsible Gaming strategy which is heavily influenced by best practice elsewhere:

It is clear that mobile is a critical element of the plan. And that’s where there may now be a problem.

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Sen. Chuck Riley opposes Oregon online sports betting

Oregon is in an unusual position. The state-owned lottery ostensibly has the power to launch sports betting without any further reference to the legislature.

Farshad Allahdadi, chief gaming operations officer for the Oregon Lottery, told Legal Sports Report:

“Sports betting on a local level — if it is authorized federally — does not need any additional state legislative action.”

Nonetheless it has moved slowly because it wants political support.

Until a couple of weeks ago this seemed to be a no-brainer. But then in a surprise move, Sen. Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro) threw in an amendment to House Bill 3389. The amendment baldly states:

“SECTION 3. The Oregon State Lottery Commission may not initiate or operate a lottery game for which tickets or shares may be purchased:

(1) Via the Internet; or

(2) Via a personal computer, mobile device or other personal electronic device.”

Bang. Sudden death for mobile sports betting — if the bill becomes law. Online and mobile sports betting accounts for around 80 percent of the market in New Jersey, so a ban would radically reduce the Oregon Lottery’s potential revenues.

The Lottery’s presentation to the Commission appeared to take the amendment into account, and included a section specifically on the risks of mobile sports betting:

Whether this will be enough to convince lawmakers to ignore Riley’s amendment is the big question.

Oregon expects major sports betting revenues

Provisional sports betting revenue projections are for up to $35.5 million in the first year, rising to $100 million a year, according to Shelby. Oregon’s population is less than half that of New Jersey, so the figures look realistic based on NJ’s experience so far.

In lottery terms, this is not big bucks. In 2017, the Lottery transferred $695.8 million to the state out of its total revenues of $1.25 billion.

Nevertheless the state pension funds are in trouble and some of that money will divert to fund pension obligations, so it has political support.

At the Commission Meeting, revenue forecasts for the lottery were given in outline, but there was no mention of the possible addition from sports betting.

All the Commission could say about Riley’s amendment was that the bill now sits with the Revenue Committee and “we continue to watch that.”

Joss Wood

About

Joss Wood writes for a number of publications in the online gambling sphere. With a special focus on international markets, he writes for LegalSportsReport.com, OnlinePokerReport.com, and others. He also centers on sports betting, esports betting, and the emergent regulated US online gambling industry.

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