Legal Sports Report

Oregon Sports Betting Could Be Live By NFL Season, State Lottery Says

Oregon Sports betting 2019

It’s never too early to look ahead to the 2019 football season. For Oregon, that has never been more true.

In a Thursday email to Legal Sports Report, Oregon Lottery spokesman Matthew Shelby confirmed that the state might have sports betting this year.

“We are working internally through various options, but we still have a goal of rolling something out to Oregonians in time for the 2019 NFL season,” Shelby said.

Mobile sports betting in Oregon

A mobile sports betting will be a part of how the state plans to roll out wagering, Shelby said.

“To meet that timeline, our initial offering will need to be mobile-based – leveraging the Oregon Lottery app,” Shelby said.

“As you probably know there are already mobile sportsbook operators out there who offer their platforms to gaming companies. Picking one and incorporating it into our app would be the fastest path to a sports offering.

Perhaps a peek into Oregon sports betting

It won’t just be mobile, however, as lottery retailers around the state will somehow be in the mix.

“We’d also like to develop ways to drive traffic to our retailers,” Shelby said. “That will take more time given the fact that we would be rolling out hardware, and training, to a statewide retail network.”

Shelby recently discussed the topic with KATU news in Portland, indicating that Oregon sports betting will likely begin with users simply choosing winners, either outright or against the spread.

Eventually, Shelby told the news station, in-game wagering at bars and restaurants, via kiosks, will become available.

“If you were at an Oregon lottery retailer, potentially, you’d have the opportunity to bet on additional things. Who’s going to have the most yards in the first half, that type of thing.”

It appears Oregon may limit betting to professional sports, however.

Outlook of Oregon sports betting

Shelby did not divulge a projection for how much the state could rake in from regulated wagering. However, as recently as this past fall, the state lottery estimated annual revenue of $100 million after a first-year report of $35.5 million.

Although the lottery did not account for potential cannibalization from other lottery games, the department believes regulated wagering could net over $120 million at full maturity. That includes the implementation of retail sportsbooks as well as the return of Sports Action, a form of parlay betting that has since been discontinued.

However, the state would likely go without wagering on college sports. While Shelby attributed reasoning to the universities getting a cut of lottery proceeds, it could also be tied to the state’s history with the NCAA.

After all, the collegiate association refused to stage March Madness tournament games in the state so long as Oregon had sports betting (despite the state not accepting wagers on college games). Oregon caved in 2005, dissolving Sports Action two years later. The NCAA returned to Oregon in 2009.

Sports betting bills not needed?

Farshad Allahdadi, chief gaming operations officer for the Oregon Lottery, told Legal Sports Report last spring that the organization doesn’t need new legislation to move forward. The lottery has “broad authority” to expand its offerings, he said.

Not many states received relative preferential treatment when it came to sports betting. Oregon did.

After PASPA passed in 1992, Oregon — along with NevadaDelaware and Montana — Oregon was grandfathered in and allowed to offer the same form of gambling it offered prior to the law.

Delaware sports betting has since launched, and Montana has a bill introduced to implement wagering. Oregon, though, has taken its time to roll out wagering.

Grant Lucas
- Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.
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