It looks as if Oregonians and other interested parties will soon be able to read all about the mobile betting contract that the Oregon Lottery entered into with SBTech, a Malta-based contractor, thanks to a ruling handed down by Marion County Circuit Court Judge David Leith.
The judge’s conclusion was made with the explanation that the contract is in fact of public interest and therefore needs to be out in the open. The Oregon Lottery had hired SBTech last year in order to create and manage their Scoreboard sports betting app.
The entire lawsuit and desire to see the details of this contract became necessary when the Oregon Lottery recently reported that they were taking unexpected losses on sports betting.
How This Lawsuit Came About
Oregon was very eager to get into the sports betting arena, which is why the state Lottery entered into a contract with SBTech. This desire to enter the lucrative sports betting industry may have proven to be too quick and not well thought out.
The entire process and the contract itself has now raised all kinds of questions. Major points of concern have risen over where the betting revenues would go, including how they would be split between the state of Oregon and SBTech.
There had been a public records request made in which the Oregon Lottery did in fact turn over some of the information requested, but not all. There were parts that were held back from the public with the most glaring being SBTech’s compensation.
It was at this point the Oregon Department of Justice was asked by The Oregonian for clarification on the state’s public records law. The Department of Justice went on to tell the Lottery that the entire contract would need to be turned over, which it wasn’t.
Then in January 2020, SBTech made the decision to sue in order to stop the hand-over of the complete documents. Judge Leith’s recent ruling is the response to SBTech’s filing. Leith declared the following:
“Public contracts are a matter of significant public interest. That interest is heightened where the contract relates to an emerging market for gambling. The legitimate public interest is further heightened by the initial deficits Lottery has thus far experienced under the contract.”
What Happens Next?
Now that the ruling has been handed down, SBTech has 30 days to decide what its next move will be. It can either choose to abide by the ruling or file an appeal, which obviously carries risk and doesn’t guarantee that Leith’s ruling will be overturned.
This legal battle has intensified due to the state’s Lottery declaring losses on sports betting, which was completely unexpected and alarming to many. The financial shortcomings have led to an increase of public outcries that this contract needs to be made public so that people can see what’s really going on.
Oregon’s early missteps with sports betting is on the verge of becoming a disaster. How big of a disaster depends on whether or not SBTech cooperates with the judge’s ruling. If they don’t then this legal battle could really harm the state’s chances at a successful sports betting venture.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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