The state of Oregon is a step closer to rolling out sports betting following a recent agreement between the Oregon State Lottery and their implementation partner, SBTech.
The two groups signed a multi-year contract at the beginning of the month, with the Oregon Lottery announcing that the Europe-based software provider will power their retail and mobile sports betting platforms. Officials from the Lottery also confirmed that they are working on launching sportsbook services before the start of the football season in September.
Speaking about the launch, a lottery spokesperson said that the Commission was excited about offering legal wagers to Oregonians. The official further noted that sports betting would be an excellent way of generating additional revenue for the state without asking their current customers to stake more or spend more time playing lottery games.
The Commission hopes to launch a mobile sports betting app in time for the NFL season, with retail kiosks set to open in Q1 of 2020.
SBTech beats bitter rival to win supplier contract
The Oregon Lottery revealed its intention to award the supplier contract to SBTech in March this year. However, the decision was contested by Scientific Gaming (SG), which had also submitted a bid for the contract, forcing the Commission to delay the official announcement until late May.
In their complaint letter, officials from SG faulted the selection process, claiming that the Commission had arrived at a decision while still conducting background checks on SBTech. The Nevada-based gaming corporation also invited the officials to look into SBTech’s integrity, character, financial capability, and reliability before making the final decision.
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The protest letter forced the state lottery to send police detectives to SBTech’s head offices in Sofia, Bulgaria, where they interviewed the company’s executives and staff members. However, the extensive background checks established that the firm was capable of providing a turn-key sports wagering solution for both retail and online sportsbooks, and they were well-equipped to meet the Commission’s set deadlines.
The contract between SBTech and the Oregon State Lottery gives the vendor an excellent opportunity to strengthen their footing in the legal US market. The firm has existing sports betting partnerships with five US casinos including Golden Nugget and Resorts AC in New Jersey.
Background of Oregon Sports Betting
The Beaver State is among the four states that were exempted from the Federal sports betting ban under PASPA Rule. This is because some form of sports wagering existed in the jurisdiction even before 1992. The other states were New Jersey, Montana, and Delaware.
Oregon stopped state-based sportsbook operations in 2007 due to fears that it could be banned from hosting NCAA Tournament games.
Following the annulment of the PASPA Rule last year, the state can now offer sports betting, and the good thing is that it does not need to pass new laws to make the offering legal.
However, the Oregon State Lottery must issue regulation guidelines before the market goes live.
Revenue will reduce public pension burden
Lottery officials estimate that Oregon sports wagering could generate up to $100 million in revenue for the state every year.
As the rollout approaches, some lawmakers are already proposing that part of these funds should be used to ease public pension obligations in the state.
Currently, Oregon’s public pension burden stands at $25.3 billion, and the state must raise $1.4 billion annually for the next three years to meet the pension obligations.