Oregon Sports Betting App Bans College Wagering, Plans Launch Ahead of NFL Season

Posted on: July 30, 2019, 11:38h. 

Last updated on: July 30, 2019, 11:38h.

Oregon’s sports betting app won’t feature odds on college athletics when the network goes live this fall, as the state lottery tasked with operating the expanded gambling activity says it’s for now sticking to professional games only.

Oregon sports betting lottery game
Sorry, Ducks fans, Oregon sports betting won’t include wagers on the Pac-12 football team. (Image: Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian)

The Oregon Lottery says it plans to launch its “Scoreboard” app before the NFL regular season kicks off in early September. The state agency has partnered with SBTech – a business-to-business provider of turnkey sports betting platforms.

It’s been more than a decade since we’ve had any [sports betting], so we’re kind of easing into it,” Oregon Lottery spokesman Matthew Shelby told Sports Handle this week. “Professional sports is an easier sell to the broader audience.”

Shelby says the lottery could revisit college sports betting at a later time. Oregon isn’t home to an NFL franchise, but does have the NBA Portland Trailblazers and MLS Portland Timbers. The nearest NFL teams are the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Oakland Raiders, the latter preparing to move to Las Vegas in 2020.

Commercial casinos remain prohibited in Oregon, but the state does have several tribal gaming venues.

Regional Monopoly

When “Scoreboard” goes live via online this fall, the Oregon Lottery will have a rather large exclusivity on sports betting. Such gambling remains outlawed in the neighboring states of Washington, Idaho, and California. It is, of course, lawful in Nevada.

Washington has introduced legislation to authorize sports betting, but only in-person at the state’s tribal casinos. No bills have been introduced in Idaho, and California’s complicated gaming industry with interests including commercial card clubs and powerful Native American groups makes the odds extremely long that sports betting will come to the Golden State anytime soon.

Along with the mobile “Scoreboard” app, Shelby says sports betting kiosks will be deployed at lottery retailers across the state in the coming months. The Oregon Lottery has teamed with GeoComply to make sure only those physically located within the state’s borders have access to the sports gaming app.

Oregon sports betting revenues are being allocated for the state’s escalating pension deficit. The Oregon Public Employees Retirement System says it has more than 145,800 current retirees it needs to pay, and as of the end of 2017, it had an underfunded actuarial liability of $22.3 billion.

Oregon History

The Beaver State was one of four states granted some sort of immunity from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) – the federal legislation that kept full-scale sports betting illegal everywhere other than those four jurisdictions.

When PASPA was signed into law by President George HW Bush, the Oregon Lottery had been operating a game called “Sports Action” since 1989. The product allowed players to place bets on the outcomes of professional football games. The Oregon Legislature ended the product in January 2007, and no sports wagering has occurred in the state since.

“Since the repeal of PASPA last year, we’ve worked hard to build the infrastructure, technology and regulatory framework to offer legal sports betting to players in Oregon,” Shelby said last week.