Oregon Lottery Sports Betting Launch in November Could Be Single-Game Wagering or Blast from the Past

Posted on: September 25, 2018, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: September 25, 2018, 11:20h.

Oregon will launch a mobile sports book in November, according to SportsHandle. But the big question is what form it will take.

Oregon Lottery
The Oregon Lottery’s parlay sports betting product “Sports Action” was discontinued in 2007 after it became an impediment to the state hosting NCCA basketball games. (Image: Bend Bulletin)

Sports Action Reboot?

The Oregon Lottery rolled out its brand new online lottery app two weeks ago and is expected to add a product offering at least some form of sports betting later in the fall.

In 1989, the Oregon Lottery launched a betting game called “Sports Action,” which allowed players to wager on the NFL and NBA, but only in a parlay format that required them to get three picks right to win –- single bets were not permitted.

Sports Action was mothballed in 2007 when it became clear that it would prevent Oregon from being considered as a host for NCAA basketball games.

But the Oregon Lottery announced its enthusiasm for renewed sports betting in July, stating it believed it could open up the state lottery to a new, younger demographic. Its new app simply offers a means for lottery players to check the results — as opposed to the slots-style and instant-win games offered in other states. But sports betting could be a game-changer.

While Oregon has already offered legal sports betting, it still lacks a regulatory framework and a tax structure. That could mean the legislature will still need to get involved, potentially delaying the process. Lawmakers may also need to work to expand current laws to allow the Oregon Lottery to specifically offer single-game sports betting.

Until then, it could be we see something akin to “Sports Action 2:0.”

Getting Up to Speed

Along with Nevada, Montana and Delaware, Oregon was among the handful of states grandfathered in under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 (PASPA), the federal law that until recently prevented states from regulating sports betting.

In May, the US Supreme Court rejected PASPA as unconstitutional and an affront to state sovereignty, paving the way for states to regulate it they chose to do so.

The four states were carved out of PASPA in 1992 because they each already offered certain types of legal sports betting, although only Nevada offered it fully and Oregon has not offered it in any form since 2007.

Tribal Dimension

Oregon Governor Kate Brown was fully behind the idea of the lottery moving forward with its plans — whatever they may be — and that these plans had been signed off by the Lottery Commission, according to The Williamette Week in June.

Governor Brown is open to exploring sports betting as part of the Oregon State Lottery portfolio, particularly in ways that partner with Oregon’s Tribes,” said a spokesperson for the governor. “The future of commerce is through mobile platforms, and the lottery needs to stay relevant in that world.”

Oregon has no commercial casinos, but it does have nine tribal casino operators. Under the terms of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), tribal operators would be permitted to offer sports betting if it were offered by the state, although this would require a renegotiation of their compacts.