UFC, Table Tennis Lead Oregon Sports Betting Resurgence In May

Posted on June 8, 2020 - Last Updated on June 5, 2020

Oregon sports betting rebounded in May as sports began to return compared to April, when there was very little to bet on.

Handle jumped 64.5% in May to $7.3 million with total bets up 59.9% to 223,325, according to the recent gaming activity report. Revenue increased 52.3% to nearly $600,000.

We’ll have to wait until the Oregon Lottery Commission releases draft financial figures for May to find out how the state actually fared from Scoreboard’s operations last month. With $383,000 in sports betting revenue from April, the Lottery posted a loss of $462,000 after all expenses.

That loss is likely because of the high fees charged by platform provider SBTech.

Oregon sports betting activity in May

Sports previously considered fringe for bettors led the Oregon sports betting market back to growth in May.

Just like in April, overall handle was led by table tennis, though it had a much smaller piece of the pie. Table tennis accounted for $3.8 million in handle last month, or 51.5% of total handle, and 34.4% of total bets. That’s down from 73.8% of handle and 64.3% of bets in April.

The biggest bump came from MMA with the return of UFC and its four events in May. That brought in $1 million in handle from 50,694 bets, up from just $14,850 in handle and 487 bets in April.

The return of two foreign leagues also led to a significant betting increase.

The Bundesliga’s return halfway through May led to $977,485 in soccer betting handle. The Korean Baseball Organization’s first month of regular-season play led to $529,331 in baseball handle.

More sports, more players

The increase in betting options brought players back to Scoreboard.

There were 7,763 unique active bettors in May, up 44.5% from the 5,374 in April. That means 25% of all bettors that have placed at least one bet were active in May.

There were 567 new player registrations in May, nearly double the 286 from April.

Virtual sports launching in Oregon?

The Oregon Lottery wants to increase that unique active player count and thinks virtual sports might be the option.

Temporary rules allowing virtual sports could be approved later this month.

“The months-long permanent rulemaking process would negatively impact the Lottery’s ability to engage and entertain Scoreboard players, which could have a long-term negative fiscal impact to the Lottery’s ability to raise money for public programs,” the Lottery said in a temporary administrative order. “Adopting temporary rules allows the Lottery to offer bets on virtual sporting events, allowing the Lottery to raise revenue and maintain Scoreboard player engagement during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

Oregon would become just the second state to offer online virtual sports betting.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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