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Online Sports Betting Debut

Launch comes with hopes and concerns

Beverly Corbell | 11/12/2019, 12:11 p.m.
Players must be 21 to use Scoreboard and can set up the app on both IOS and Android devices.
A new app for the Oregon Lottery can be accessed at sports.oregonlottery.org/sports, allowing 24/7 betting on professional sports.

When the Oregon Lottery launched its new online betting app Scoreboard last month, Lottery director Barry Pack said the move would increase state revenue by attracting new players without relying on current players of state-sanctioned betting games like video poker. Others are more cautious, and worry about an increase in problem gambling.

The new app, which can be accessed at sports.oregonlottery.org/sports, allows 24/7 betting on professional sports – but not college sports – and all bets must be made within the state, ensured by the app’s geo-fencing feature.

Bettors can use Scoreboard for single game bets, parlays and in-game wagers either online or at sports betting kiosks throughout the state.

Betting on college sports may be an online possibility in the future, though, and the Oregon Lottery website states that all the stakeholders, including players, lottery commission members and the governor’s office will “determine if expanding wagering opportunities to collegiate sports makes sense for Oregon.”

But the list of professional sports that can be wagered on right now is exhaustive, and includes football, basketball, ice hockey, baseball, soccer, tennis, golf and several more, even cricket and handball. Wagers on horseracing, however, including major events like the Kentucky Derby, will not be offered through the app.

Players must be 21 to use Scoreboard and can set up the app on both IOS and Android devices, with a desktop version available on the Lottery website.

pon online registration and verification, players can fund their account and bet on a variety of professional sports, including the NFL, NBA, MLB and even NASCAR.

As of 2018, the Oregon Lottery awarded $2.6 billion in prizes and $725 million to state and local programs that include state parks, public schools, watershed enhancement, outdoor education, job creation and veterans’ services.

The new app is projected to bring in about $300 million during the first year, with most of that money going to bettors. The deposit limit for player account is $250,000, which some critics say is too high.

But Pack said the game will send email alerts to players to let them know where they stand in regard to their limits, and they can also select to self-limit their bets. He said the state earned the highest certification possible last year for responsible gaming from the World Lottery Association. Oregon is also credited with having one of the best gambling treatment programs in the country.

“While the Lottery continues to focus on profits to fund state and local programs, our commitment to responsible gaming and support for problem gambling treatment is stronger than ever,” Pack said.

Some experts are concerned about people with gambling addictions finding it too easy to gamble with the new app, says Tom Moore, executive director of the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling. While his organization doesn’t give an opinion on legalized gambling, it is focused on gambling addiction prevention and treatment.

“Our role is to provide the opportunity for treatment and for folks and the industry to come together and talk about what’s going on,” he said. “Oregon probably is one of the best states where communication among stakeholders occurs on a regular basis.”

There are free programs for gambling addiction in every county in Oregon, Moore said.

“From our studies, in the adult population, 70 percent gambled in 1997 but last year only 56.6 percent gambled,” he said. “People aren’t gambling as much as they used to.”

The gambling numbers are also lower for 13 to 18 year olds, down from 74 percent in 1997 to 39.7 percent last year.

Some folks may still run into problems with gambling addictions, he said, but he suspects it will be a small number.

“Most people in Oregon know that treatment is available and it’s free, but that’s not true in other states,” he said.

The $250,000 limit, however, does worry Philip Yassenoff, a gambling treatment expert at Cascadia Behavioral Health, as he recently told the Willamette Week.

“The amount of damage that can be done to them financially or emotionally in a short period of time is concerning to me as a therapist,” he said.

Anyone with a gambling problem can call the Oregon Problem Gambling Helpline any time at 1-877-MY-LIMIT (1-877-695-4648).