The spread of legalized sports betting in the United States has been interesting to follow. New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were among the first states to really make a big push. Even Mississippi got involved down in the southeast and New Mexico down in the southwest, but those states were mostly all alone. Then things transitioned to the Midwest with Indiana and Iowa.
Now we’ve got pockets of legalized betting exploding everywhere. One place where progress has been relatively slow and limited has been in the Pacific Northwest. Montana recently got started, right about the time that the coronavirus outbreak hit.
Interestingly enough, Oregon was one of the four states grandfathered into PASPA, but did not really pursue a whole lot of betting opportunities until recently. The failed Sports Action app went belly up in 2007, but operated from 1989 to 2007 taking parlay-only wagers before the NCAA voiced its opposition. The NBA was removed from the app in 1990 after the Portland Trail Blazers voiced their displeasure. It was the only concerted effort to bring betting to the state before the landmark Supreme Court decision in Murphy v. NCAA.
Now, Oregon uses the ScoreBoard App, which started up in October 2019. Because Oregon was grandfathered into PASPA, betting was technically legal in the state, so one would think that things would have progressed a lot quicker since new legislation was not necessary for the state to start something up.
How Do I Bet on Sports in Oregon?
Oregon uses the ScoreBoard App, which is through the state lottery and partnered with SBTech for its technical support. Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City has a retail sportsbook. There are several other tribal casinos in the state of Oregon that have yet to open up retail operations, but all of them are permitted by their gaming compacts to do so.
With that in mind, the options in Oregon are online with the sportsbook app or in the flesh at Chinook Winds. That doesn’t give Oregonians a lot of options and the lottery means that there are no operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, or William Hill to create additional competition.
However, some betting is better than no betting and the ScoreBoard app works on any compatible device.
As is the case in so many states, the legal age for betting is 21 and you must be physically located within the state to place bets. Because the app and ScoreBoard run through the state lottery, kiosks at lottery retailers are an eventual possibility. To this point, there hasn’t been a big push for an expansion of gaming in Oregon, so we’ll have to wait and see if things expand. Even if they do, the lottery has a stranglehold and many of the familiar operators that you recognize will not be starting up anytime soon.
After years of nothing, we can confirm that something is in fact far better than nothing. The state of Oregon proved that adage to be true on October 16 when online sports betting launched. The sportsbook at Chinook Winds Casino, a tribal casino in Lincoln City, actually took the first bets as a retail sportsbook, but Oregon joins Rhode Island as the only states to push online betting before a large-scale rollout of retail betting. Rhode Island’s sports betting is also through the lottery.
Oregon could very well serve as a test case for the District of Columbia, which is moving towards approving sports betting, but has no casinos. The Oregon Lottery has a monopoly within the state to oversee all of the sports wagers that are placed within the state’s borders. SBTech won the contract from the state to create what we now know to be the Scoreboard app.
With the release of the Scoreboard app, Oregon became the eighth state to allow mobile sports betting, joining New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Iowa, Indiana, Rhode Island, and Nevada. New Mexico, Mississippi, Arkansas, and New York only offer retail at this point.
Only pro sports wagers are accepted through the Scoreboard app, so you cannot bet the Oregon Ducks or Oregon State Beavers, but something is in fact better than nothing. Ironically, Oregon was actually one of the few states with loopholes that allowed legalized wagering even during the reign of terror that PASPA had. Oregon was exempt under the pretense of parlay wagering through the lottery. Once PASPA was overturned, state officials and the Lottery Commission got together with SBTech to release something more conventional.
Even though college sports are not permitted through the Scoreboard app, other pro sports like soccer, NASCAR, MMA, and then the major pro sports of the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL are all offered. The app was supposed to be launched prior to the start of the NFL season, but it didn’t make it out in time. Chinook Winds started taking bets, but the online component through the lottery had not yet gone live.
According to the Oregon Lottery, the app registered 2,300 people and $80,000 worth of deposits in its first day. Based on screenshots in the replies on Twitter, Scoreboard accounts can be funded via debit or credit card, PayPal, a personal bank account, or a Play+ account. Account holders need to be verified and will have to provide additional documentation for withdrawals, and, in some cases, deposits. So far, things seem to be going better than they did with Oregon’s ill-fated “Sports Action” app back in 2007 when parlay wagering was all that was allowed.
Now we turn our eyes to see what happens in Oregon with the tribal casinos. Indian Head in Warm Springs, Kla-Mo-Ya in Chiloquin, The Mill in North Bend, Seven Feathers in Canyonville, Spirit Mountain in Grand Ronde, Three Rivers in Florence, Three Rivers in Coos Bay, and Wildhorse in Pendelton are the tribal casinos that do have their own power to open retail sportsbooks and we could also see those properties and tribes pair with some of the other big names.
The tribes seem to operate under very different conditions. For example, Chinook Winds does take college sports wagers at its retail sportsbook. On the other hand, the online component in Oregon seems to be restricted to the lottery at this point in time. That means that the tribal casinos can take in-person wagers, but won’t be able to offer their own apps. That could temper the number of large companies willing to enter the space for the time being. There are a lot of baby steps being taken across the state of Oregon with regards to the current nature of sports betting, even though the state should have been more advanced with the parlay component long before the court hearings on PASPA.
Nevertheless, something is better than nothing and that remains the theme here. Spirit Mountain is the closest to Portland, while most of the other casinos are pretty far from Oregon’s few population centers. Seven Feathers is closest to Eugene. Chinook Winds is about two hours from Portland, but on the beautiful Pacific Ocean coast of Oregon, so it is something of a touristy destination for those looking to place some bets.
Until the casinos are able to offer some sort of online component, the state lottery will be the biggest benefactor, even though college sports wagering is not allowed. Kiosks are also going to be added in retail lottery locations.
Several states are interested in going the lottery route, so Oregon will serve as another frame of reference and the revenue growth from an online component is sure to push other states closer to legalization.