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The expanding US legal sports betting industry is largely based in the East, but Oregon sports betting could add to the western profile sooner than later.
Grandfathered in during the PASPA era, Oregon took a step last week to relaunching regulated sports betting. During a monthly meeting of the Oregon Lottery Commission last week, the lottery recommended selection of SBTech as its provider.
Near the bottom of a March 22 presentation at a commission meeting were several slides detailing the lottery’s “Sports Betting Selection Process and Recommendation.”
The lottery conducted a market survey that included internal reviews and assessments of how the vendor would fit into Oregon sports betting. From there, the state created a short list of potential vendors including Playtech and SG Digital. The latter is a sports betting partner of Caesars Entertainment in New Jersey and Mississippi.
The lottery selected SBTech, citing the vendor’s ability to provide a “turn-key, sports-betting platform and sportsbook for digital and on-property wagering.”
The European vendor has a presence in five casinos in the US. That includes Golden Nugget and Resorts Atlantic City in New Jersey. SBTech has also partnered with Churchill Downs.
In its presentation, the Oregon Lottery noted that SBTech “is a sports bet vendor, not a lottery vendor.” Yet, SBTech shows its sports betting expertise in “product design and focus on player experience.”
The company’s player-centric and innovative offerings attracted the lottery, as did SBTech’s knowledge of the direction of legalized sports betting and what can help the state feature a competitive market:
“With their innovative features and capabilities, OSL can compete with black market operators effectively with a solid go-to-market strategy and positioning itself very well at launch.”
The Oregon Lottery’s RFP Team, charged with finding a vendor, selected SBTech by unanimous decision March 13. The lottery’s executive team then approved the selection five days later. And a Notice of Intent to bring in SBTech as the sports betting vendor went out March 20.
From here, the Oregon Lottery and SBTech will enter contract negotiations next week. The partnership will also need approval from the Oregon State Lottery Commission.
A special meeting takes place April 5, while the next regular meeting will occur April 26.
In a February email to Legal Sports Report, Oregon Lottery spokesman Matthew Shelby confirmed that Oregon could introduce legalized sports betting by fall 2019.
“We are working internally through various options,” Shelby wrote, “but we still have a goal of rolling something out to Oregonians in time for the 2019 NFL season.”
Online wagering could go live right away, Shelby said. In order for the lottery to meet that deadline, “our initial offering will need to be mobile-based — leveraging the Oregon Lottery app.”
Last fall, the state lottery estimated that OR sports betting could generate annual revenue of $100 million following the first-year report of $35.5 million. At full maturity, the industry has the potential to result in more than $120 million.
That said, Oregon sports betting might not include wagering on college sports. One reason could be is that state universities receive a cut of lottery revenue. However, it could also be attributed to Oregon’s rocky history with the NCAA.