Oregon Lottery Aims to Have Online Sports Betting by Fall
Oregon Lottery officials plan to launch legal sports gambling in the state in time for football season this year, but it’s not without some pushback. After online games are up and running this summer, the Lottery will start installing sports betting games in the retailers and restaurants that currently sell other lottery games. That movement should start out early in 2020.
The Lottery’s mobile sports app would allow participants to place bets on sports games, even pro football events. This would make Oregon the first state over on the West Coast to set up an online sports betting system.
Oregon Lottery’s Expectations
According to a spokesperson for the Oregon Lottery, Matt Shelby, the state’s official lottery is hoping to bring in bettors who participate in offshore sports wagering:
“It brings in new players that aren’t currently playing our games. And so, we think for those reasons it’s a great time for us to bring it back. We also really hope to bring back, or bring in, a lot of current sports bettors that are using offshore apps and accounts to bet. We know that’s happening in Oregon. We’d love to get a slice of that activity.”
Officials in the lottery expect that the handle could get as high as $330 million by the end of the first year and as much as double that amount by the third year. Farshad Allahdadi, the chief gaming officer of the Lottery, discusses the organization’s mission:
“We have about 3 million eligible players in Oregon, many of whom bet illegally now. Our challenge is to create a compelling product that can draw a portion of those illegal betters and attract a whole new group of customers.”
Opposition to Sports Betting
Not everyone is supportive of the idea, however, and the Lottery is getting some pushback. Senator Chuck Riley introduced an amendment to a bill last week that would ban the Lottery from setting up any gambling, including sports gambling.
Blazers and Timbers
Timbers officials have declined to comment on this subject, but Blazers spokesperson Michael Lewellen said that the organization will continue to monitor developments in sports betting, as they have for quite some time now. In the past, NBA teams have wanted integrity fees to protect the game within states that legalize sports betting. In New York, NFL teams are still fighting for a fee. Could we see professional teams within Oregon publicly claim the need for integrity fees?
The Process for Online Gaming
Oregon officials want the online sports betting games to be in full effect by August, which is only seven months after they solicited bids from sports gambling vendors. To date, the state has tentatively chosen SBTech Global Ltd to bring the technology and expertise to the process.
The second-place bidder, Scientific Games Ltd, wants the state to investigate if SBTech is carrying out business in countries or states that have outlawed gambling. SBTech has headquarters in the Isle of Man, and is mostly a newcomer to the market in the United States, but is well established in Asia and Europe.
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