ROAR Digital Inks Deal with Oregon Tribe, Will Open BetMGM Sportsbook, Eyes Mobile Wagering

Posted on: June 18, 2020, 09:30h. 

Last updated on: June 18, 2020, 12:51h.

ROAR Digital, the sports wagering venture between MGM Resorts International (MGM) and GVC Holdings (GVC), reached an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde of Oregon to be the tribes’ exclusive sports betting partner.

Spirit Mountain BetMGM Sportsbook
Spirit Mountain Casino in Oregon is getting a BetMGM sportsbook, and that could lead to mobile betting down the road. (Image: Oregon Live)

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the agreement is described as “long-term.” Grand Ronde operates the Spirit Mountain Casino, Oregon’s largest gaming property, in a town bearing the same name as the tribal nation. As part of the agreement, BetMGM will open a retail sportsbook at the casino later this year.

Along with retail sports betting, ROAR Digital will roll out an on-reservation mobile sports betting app, as well as an eventual state-wide online sports betting offering as it becomes available to the Tribe, pending regulatory approval,” according to a statement.

The Beaver State will be the fifth in which BetMGM operates retail sportsbooks, joining Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, and New Jersey, where the company runs a combined 13 retail sports wagering locations.

Oregon: A Controversial Sports Betting Market

Sports wagering went live in Oregon last fall, though the state was one of four immune from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), allowing the Oregon Lottery to run an NFL wagering game from 1989 to 2007.

The newest iteration of sports wagering in the Pacific Northwest state is more traditional, though gamblers are barred from betting on college athletics. Commercial casinos are prohibited in the state, but there are eight tribal gaming properties and some poker rooms there. Casinos operated by tribes are permitted to have sportsbooks, but mobile wagering in the state is currently dominated by Oregon Lottery’s “Scoreboard” app.

The lottery’s relationship with SBTech, which is now part of DraftKings, has been ensconced in controversy from the start, with other bidders for the Oregon deal criticizing the lottery’s decision to pick SBTech.

Oregon Lottery and SBTech also drew criticism because the entirety of their contract isn’t available for public viewing. While the parties argue that most of the accord can be viewed by ordinary citizens, The Oregonian newspaper sued to have the full pact revealed to the public.

Mobile Matters

Assuming BetMGM is successful in procuring mobile access in the Beaver State, bettors there may like having some choice, instead of the monopoly enjoyed by Scoreboard.

Earlier this year, SBTech was hit by a vicious cyber attack that knocked Scoreboard offline for several weeks. That outage happened in the middle of the coronavirus sports shutdown. But it also forced the technology company to set aside $30 million in cash for potential litigation stemming from the issue, so that its merger with DraftKings could proceed.

Last week, Scoreboard again came under fire when a bettor claimed the app changed odds from -110 (bet $110 to win $100) to -150 (bet $150 to win $100) when he attempted to place a $550 wager on a NASCAR race.

The bettor posted video of this happening, and making matters worse for the Oregon Lottery were two issues. First, the video indicated that the line remained -110 on smaller wagers. Second, the lottery initially said it was able to contact the player and resolve the matter to his satisfaction, when, at the time that statement was made, wasn’t true.

Oregon Lottery later acknowledged as much and said it’s working on improving internal processes.