Oregon And Sports Betting – A Special Relationship

The Beaver State has established itself as somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to sports betting in the US.

Since 2018, when the senate legalized sports betting at the national level, states begun the complicated process of changing their legislation. Over a year later and almost every state finds itself in a different stage of this process, creating a patchwork effect across the US.

Despite these differences, it is possible to loosely categorize these states into three different groups:

  1. States that have allowed unrestricted online sports betting. A good example of this sports betting in PA where you can sign up and bet from anywhere withing state borders.
  2. States that have allowed online sports betting but with restrictions. Nevada is a good example, as they require customers to sign-up, deposit and withdraw in person.
  3. States that have not legalized sports betting yet.

So where is Oregon in all of this? Well, in October the state launched the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard App. This puts the state in the unique position of being in complete control of all sports bets in its state.

As the first state to trial this monopoly system, other states will be treating Oregon as a guinea pig. So far, it’s gone well, with the scoreboard raking in over $1 million wagers. Customers have continued to sign-up in hordes as the NBA season gets underway.

It looks like this initial success has had an effect in smaller states. Montana has recently legalized sports betting but, so far, has decided to only allow the state lottery to obtain a license. New Hampshire has created a similar system, but the Granite State has allowed DraftKings to share the contract with their state lottery.

A state lottery monopoly can have huge advantages for states with smaller populations. It allows the state to control how much of the revenue to the state coffers. It also restricts sports betting profits to a state body – rather than seeing them flow out to New Jersey or Nevada where many sportsbooks have their head offices.

It appears to be working at the moment, but things may have to change once the surrounding states decide whether to legalize sports betting. If bordering states, Washington, Idaho and California decide to allow sportsbooks to offer online betting then Oregon may have to open up the market, to avoid their citizens crossing the borders to bet. It would be easy, for example, for Portlanders, to sign-up and bet with a Washington based sportsbook.

A lot of changes in state betting legislation around the US will be motivated by what bordering states will be doing. The thought of losing tax revenue to another state is likely to galvanize legislators into taking some sort of action. Maryland is a good example of this situation, as it could find itself entirely hemmed in by states where sports betting is legal.

Only time will tell if the state lottery system will be a long-lasting success. New sportsbooks in 2020 will be focused on the established online sports betting hubs in NJ and PA but eventually, we expect that they’ll start knocking on Oregon’s door.