A new bill backed by Gov. Kate Brown filed Monday will shift Oregon sports betting from a single-operator market to an open market. HB 2127 sought statewide retail and mobile sports betting, shifting to an open and more competitive market with the Oregon Racing Commission as the regulator. Currently, the Oregon sports betting is legally operated only through Oregon Lottery’s monopolized Scoreboard app, in addition to in-person wagering options at two tribal casinos.
The new bill, containing a six-page draft, was vaguely worded as it did not clearly mention whether the lottery’s Scoreboard app would exist in the competitive market, though it made the racing commission, rather than the lottery, as the regulator. The vagueness of the bill continued in its fee structure and particularly regarding tax rate as the six pages were destitute of any. However, the proposed measure is deferential to leagues and colleges on various issues.
HB 2127 was pre-filed at the request of the governor on behalf of the racing commission. The bill does not limit the number of operators that the new regulatory authority could license and calls for a $50,000 license fee. It goes on to say that an additional fee not to exceed 10% of gross sports betting receipts shall be assessed upon each sports betting licensee. 75% of the additional fee assessed shall be paid to the General Fund in the Oregon Treasury to the credit of the state’s Racing Commission Account. The remaining 25% of the additional fee shall be allocated by the commission to support the racing industry.
However, HB 2127 is a unique bill as it is an unprecedently vague measure of revenue.
Other details of the bill include the mandated use of official league data to grade in-play bets, a repeal of the Beaver State’s ban on college sports betting, and authorization of leagues and colleges to request bans on various bet types. This differs significantly from the Scoreboard app that only takes wagers on professional sports.
HB 2127 received its first reading this Monday in the House of Representatives. If passed, the proposal would represent a significant change in the overall structure of Oregon sports betting. The measure would certainly pave the way for a more open and competitive marketplace as it would break the monopoly created by the Lottery’s single online sportsbook option. Oregon’s legislative convenes on January 19 and will remain in session until June 30.
Scoreboard App, The Hobson’s Choice for Oregon Bettors
Oregon bettors currently have very limited options to place legal wagers. There are only two tribal casinos in the Beaver State and only one mobile sports betting option, ScoreBoard App.
The Lottery launched ScoreBoard in October 2019 in collaboration with SBTech, which was to oversee the only digital sportsbook in the state. The partnership proved fruitful for the iGaming business company at the expense of the state. In the first six months of online betting, Oregon lost roughly $2 million despite net revenue of almost $6 million. According to reports, direct payments to vendors, including SBTech, totaled around $2.9 million during that time.
As of last month, Oregon sports bettors put up over $263 million in bets, which resulted in around $23 million in revenue. Those numbers rank lowest among the states with regulated sports betting. However, the gloomy tendency has been a consistent feature of the monopolized single-operator markets. If the new sports betting bill passes, it would undoubtedly see the industry change for the better.