With a handle of $24 million down 18.7% from February’s reported $29.6 million, Oregon sports betting does not reflect a true picture of the US industry in March, a rebounding month for legal sports betting for many other states. After a short month of a lack of sporting options, most states are set to bounce back with swelling sports betting handles and revenues for March, thanks to the NCAA Tournament. Yet, the same is not true for the Beaver State. According to figures released Monday by the Oregon Lottery, gross sports betting revenue (GGR) also declined to $1.37 million in March, down 49% from February’s $2.69 million.
Unsurprisingly, basketball topped the trend among Oregon bettors during the month of March. The sports drew a handle of nearly $15.1 million, even though not a single legal wager was placed on NCCA Tournament. According to Oregon Lottery’s report, soccer was the second most popular sport with $2.76 million, while hockey drew $2 million for the month.
Why the Decline in Handle?
February brought declining handles for most states with legalized betting. The shortest month of the year, and with one less weekend, was also short on sporting events and so the nosedive was anticipated. Yet, Oregon’s February handle might have misled some who expected to have better months following February. The latest figures from the Oregon Lottery proved this to not be the case.
Indeed, Beaver State’s diminished handle results from its own decision as Oregon does not allow college sports betting on its Lottery’s Scoreboard app. It simply means March Madness, the busiest sporting event of the year, could not add value to Oregon sports betting as bettors could not place legal wagers on their favorite game. In Oregon, college bets have to be placed in person at two tribal casinos, meaning Oregon missed out on local interest regarding the Beaver State’s run to the Elite 8 and the state’s appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Not an Ideal Sports Betting Model
Oregon’s sports betting model is in contrast to most legal sports betting jurisdictions. Oregon is a monopolized sports betting market run by the state’s Lottery, which does it through the Scoreboard sportsbook app launched in October 2019. This makes the lottery responsible for all digital sports betting in Beaver State. However, experts maintain and the monthly figures confirm that a competitive market – like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, besides others – continues to flourish, while single-operator markets like Oregon have failed to achieve desired results. Currently, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to assert the same monopolized model for online sports betting.
New Legislation Could Open the Oregon Market
Realizing the not-so-perfect conditions, Oregon lawmakers introduced a bill at the behest of Gov. Kate Brown. House Bill 2127 would seek reforms in Oregon’s existing sports betting model by bringing several key changes. It would make the Oregon Racing Commission the new regulator of sports betting, besides opening the market by increasing the number of operators for both online and retail sports betting in the Beaver State. But. unfortunately, HB 2127 has remained inactive since January, according to the official website.
Meanwhile, DraftKings could take over the ScoreBoard app’s operations as the Boston-based company has merged with SBTech, which runs the Oregon Lottery’s operations.