Oregon took a unique approach to legal sports betting when the issue first came up a few years back. Lawmakers decided to move forward with the Oregon State Lottery as the lone in-state operator.
The state’s lottery remains a major source of revenue. However, this was probably not the best course of action after numerous issues plagued the rollout for legal online sports betting in Oregon. In October of 2019, the in-state betting platform Scoreboard made its debut.
In January of this year, DraftKings joined forces with the Oregon Lottery as the exclusive in-state sportsbook operator. This move was designed to correct the inherent issues with the Scoreboard platform. As that platform was shutdown, DraftKings became the sole provider of online sports betting in the state.Jump to
Moving Forward With Possible Oregon Gambling Expansion
With DraftKings in place as the sole online sports betting provider, the scope of possible expansion in Oregon is taking shape. With certain key lawmakers onboard, an eight-person joint committee has been formed to review the state’s current framework.
This appears to be an inclusive review that opens the door to the overall expansion of gaming in Oregon. Other than legal sports betting a few year’s back, Oregon has not conducted a major review since 1996.
Another important factor in expansion plans is in-state gaming tribes. They requested an extensive review in 2021. Heading into this year’s plans, the tribes pushed for this review again in 2022. State Speaker of the House Dan Rayfield noted that the legal gambling industry in the entire US has changed dramatically.
He envisions this committee as an excellent chance to complete a comprehensive review moving forward. House Representative John Lively and state Senator Sara Gelser have been picked to co-chair the new committee.
The Oregon Lottery is another strong proponent of the expansion of the state’s gaming industry. One of the changes proposed would be the addition of legal online betting on in-state college teams such as the Oregon Ducks.
The changeover to DraftKings as the sole online sportsbook operator has been viewed as a positive step forward. The Oregon Lottery is now looking to capitalize on this partnership in any way possible.
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Oregon Governor Remains Source of Concern
The push for possible expansion has picked up some serious steam. However, Governor Kate Brown could be viewed as a potential stumbling block. Last year, she asked the Oregon Lottery to table any active discussions tied to expansion plans.
A February Oregon Department of Justice ruling prevented the installation of 225 betting terminals at the Grants Pass Race Track. This would have been a violation of the state’s constitutional prohibition on gaming at non-tribal casinos.
There are nine in-state gaming tribes in Oregon. With a heavy reliance on casino revenue to fund vital services, they have a vested interest in any proposed changes that may take place. Outside commercial interests have also lobbied for a change in the state’s current laws.
As the first major review in gaming laws in more than 25 years, this new eight-person committee does have a rather tall task ahead of them. However, the desire for change could be a strong motivating factor.