Written By George Myers on March 19, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021

After reporting a record month, the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard sports betting app took a step back February. However, a deeper dive into the month’s figures shows less worrying trends.

The difference in handle from January to February – a dip of about $5.3 million – is mainly attributable to a significant decline in the amount bet on football.

While February owned the Super Bowl, it lacked what January possessed: a month chock full of NFL playoff games.

Still, the cold, hard numbers bear out the unfortunate reality that February generated the least amount of revenue for Oregon, $2.68 million, since September 2020.

Signs of hope among month-to-month decline

Although both handle and revenue declined, the amount wagered by Oregon bettors in February represents the second-highest total seen in the state since Scoreboard launched in fall 2019.

Oregonians wagered more than $29.6 million last month, including nearly $3.5 million on the Super Bowl. The highest-ever handle in Oregon, $34.9 million, came in January.

The most ever garnered in revenue, $4.1 million, came in November 2020. Note, however, that the 16% hold that month is unlikely to be achieved again. For comparison, February had a 9.1% hold.

Oregon officials hope the hold percentage again rises to the more consistently achievable 11% range seen in December and January, thus boosting the amount brought back in revenue.

Lack of offerings hurt Oregon sports betting

It’s worth noting that fluctuating hold percentage is one risk of having a monopoly, where poor odds can have a more significant impact on the overall amount won or lost by bettors.

February also had various realities working against it.

Those include just one NFL game, a shorter calendar and the inability to offer college basketball betting on Scoreboard.

Expect the Oregon Lottery’s decision to not offer college sports betting rear its head more sharply this month as other states capitalize on March Madness.

That loss will feel especially poignant in Oregon, which sent both the Oregon and Oregon State to the NCAA tournament.

Basketball dominates month’s betting totals

The breakdown of betting by sport did not include any shockers.

Despite no college betting, basketball led the way by a significant amount. This comes as no surprise for a state known for its love of the Portland Trail Blazers and professional basketball.

Here is the breakdown of how much was bet by each sport on Scoreboard in February:

  • Basketball: $17.4 million
  • Football: $3.4 million
  • Soccer: $2.3 million
  • Tennis: $1.9 million
  • Hockey: $1.7 million

Other notable sports included table tennis ($1 million), MMA ($660K) and golf (460K).

Big change could be on horizon for Oregon sports betting

Scoreboard’s presence in Oregon has been far from a resounding success. Its revenues have lagged behind other states, notably New Hampshire, despite that state’s smaller population and similar monopoly.

One difference, however, is New Hampshire’s use of DraftKings Sportsbook to operate its betting market. Oregon could soon have a similar reality.

Barry Pack, executive director of the Oregon Lottery, indicated in February that negotiations continue with DraftKings to take over the state-sponsored betting platform, which currently uses SBTech, owned by DraftKings.

DraftKings has acknowledged the presence of negotiations.

“Since acquiring SBTech in April 2020, DraftKings has had conversations in the ordinary course of business with the Oregon Lottery about how best to serve Oregonians who are passionate about sports betting,” a DraftKings spokesperson told Legal Sports Report.

DraftKings’ presence could also mean a reversal on the college-sports betting policy. The sportsbook relies heavily on college offerings throughout the year and will undoubtedly push for a policy change.

Additional information about the potential Oregon-DraftKings arrangement is expected to emerge at the Oregon Lottery Commission’s next meeting on March 26. Pack has told other commission members that he may be asking “for approval of a major procurement for this purpose” at the March meeting.

Photo by AP / Charlie Riedel
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George Myers is a writer with extensive experience in both news and sports reporting. He has primarily covered baseball and football, along with the intersection of sports and lawmaking.

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Written By Derek Helling on April 5, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021

One of the usual motivations for regulating sports betting is creating a new source of income for state agencies and services. To make that happen, however, it’s kind of important for that income to exceed expenses.

Revenue from the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard betting app just eclipsed that threshold.

It’s been a year and a half since the online sportsbook launched in the Beaver State. Yet the lottery has just now collected enough income from it to equal the cost of its introduction.

And in an effort to make the platform more profitable, the lottery commission is considering a big procedural change.

Scoreboard revenue finally on level with startup, operational costs

In the lottery commission’s March 26 meeting, members shared the latest financials from Scoreboard. Barry Pack, executive director of the Oregon Lottery, spoke about Scoreboard’s status with the full commission.

“Scoreboard has turned a profit and we have recovered all of our original startup costs and are generating net lottery proceeds from the gaming,” Pack said. “Which is great news, given all the challenges of the pandemic in this time period.”

Pack then went on to make a suggestion to the commission on how to make the platform more profitable in the future. Essentially, Pack wants the lottery to “buy insurance” against having to pay out winnings on big bets.

“My recommendation to the commission is that we set aside $1 million in reserve, an initial reserve amount, and we monitor prize volatility over the months ahead and then evaluate whether that is a sufficient reserve, needs to be increased or decreased based on risk and experience. And then remaining net lottery proceeds would transfer in April with the other lottery transfers in a normal schedule. Then beginning next fiscal year, Scoreboard transfers, again to hedge against volatility a little bit, we will transfer those every six months.”

In clearer terms, that means the lottery would delay paying all relevant proceeds to the state to fund this reserve. If a bettor hits on a longshot wager or Scoreboard takes a big bet that it loses, the lottery can dip into that reserve to offset that cost.

Should that not occur, the lottery will then release the funds to the state on a deferred basis. This is significant because it compounds the already existing issue of the state not seeing returns from legal sports betting. The intentional delay adds to Scoreboard’s slow growth.

SBTech contract still plagues Scoreboard

A big part of the reason why it took about 18 months to recover startup costs is that Scoreboard’s operator, SBTech, got a sweetheart deal. For example, the state took a loss of $2 million over Scoreboard’s first five months of operation. During that time, SBTech got part of nearly $3 million in payments to vendors.

Even if the revenue sharing was more equitable, the contract has other diminishing effects. The exclusivity of the contract makes SBTech’s product the only legal online sportsbook in the state. Additionally, the lottery’s decision to not offer any markets on college sports compounds that issue.

To give context to this situation, handle came to $29.6 million in February 2021. Revenue for the same month hit its lowest point since Scoreboard launched at just $2.68 million. With about a million fewer people and no professional sports teams within the state’s borders, Iowa sportsbooks did $149.5 million in handle and held over $7.7 million in the same month.

Why that huge disparity? Among other reasons, Iowa bettors have access to nine different online sports betting sites. While legal sportsbooks in other states cashed in on the end of the NCAA basketball season, Scoreboard could not capitalize on that opportunity.

The lack of competitors also has given SBTech zero reason to offer competitive odds and promotions through Scoreboard. With little incentive to change, it’s understandable why many Oregonians may have resisted switching over from betting with illegal bookies or offshore websites.

Help might be on the way for Oregon bettors, though.

Could a rebrand help improve the bottom line for the lottery?

Earlier this year, Pack shared that the lottery is in talks with DraftKings for the company to take over Scoreboard operations. In reality, it would be more of a shift than a complete makeover. DraftKings bought SBTech last year.

DraftKings Sportsbook offers a pretty similar product across the board in all of its sports betting markets, as local regulations allow. That might mean markets on college sports, as there’s no law against betting on college sports in Oregon. The lottery simply decided not to offer those bets.

It could also mean Oregonians could get in on the competitive and frequent promotions that DraftKings offers. For instance, new DraftKings customers can currently take advantage of a Bet $1, Win $100 for the opening month of MLB games.

Hopefully, it won’t take another 18 months for the lottery to turn a significant profit off sports betting.

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Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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Written By Martin Harris on April 7, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021

Since 2007, Portland has been home to a number of popular poker rooms that, despite occasional legal challenges, have managed to remain in operation.

However, that era of Portland poker could potentially be in jeopardy.

The Oregon Court of Appeals last week upheld a ruling by the Oregon Lottery indicating such rooms in fact run afoul of Oregon gambling laws.

Oregon Lottery determined Portland Meadows violated state laws

The case dates back to 2017, when the Oregon Lottery first took exception to the Portland Meadows horse racing track for the operation of its popular poker room.

In April 2017, an Oregon State Police detective visited Portland Meadows. The detective determined its poker room violated both state and local laws.

Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack then sent a letter to the track demanding they cease operating the poker room. The action came with an added threat to terminate Portland Meadows’ contract with the Lottery to offer 10 video lottery terminals at the location.

Portland Meadows nevertheless continued to run the room. In June 2018, the lottery drew a line in the sand by issuing a declaratory ruling. The ruling insisted Oregon Racing, Inc. was violating state gambling laws by operating the poker room at Portland Meadows.

Appellate court affirms Lottery’s 2018 ruling

According to Pack, the room violated gambling laws in two distinct ways. Requiring a $15 door fee generated “house income,” which the law prohibits. Furthermore, the exchange of poker chips for cash also constituted a legal violation, Pack said. Such an exchange meant the room was illegally serving as a “house bank.”

In the lottery’s view, both violations disqualified Oregon Racing from the “social games” exception in the state’s gambling law. As a result, the Oregon Lottery chose to terminate the track’s video lottery terminal contract. Portland Meadows responded by appealing the decision, and last week’s ruling upheld the lottery’s judgment.

In its ruling, the Court of Appeals agreed with both of the Oregon Lottery’s charges that the door fee constituted “house income” and that the track had indeed operated as a “house bank.”

Other Portland poker rooms hope to press on despite ruling

Interestingly, the actual poker room at issue closed well before the appellate court ruling arrived last week.

Having lost its video lottery terminals, the Portland Meadows days were numbered. The site closed its poker room in 2019. In fact, the entire track shut down in December 2019. The track was subsequently demolished in early 2020.

Portland Meadows did reopen soon afterward in a different location. With new ownership, it now operates as an off-track betting site. It has also opened a new poker room.

However, the Court of Appeals ruling may well mean the future is in doubt for the new Portland Meadows poker room and the dozen or so others currently operating in Portland.

The appellate court’s affirmation of the Oregon Lottery’s charge that the Portland Meadows room had violated gambling laws means other Portland rooms operating by a similar model could potentially be targeted as well.

For now, it is unclear whether poker rooms without video lottery terminals might perhaps be able to escape provoking the Oregon Lottery’s ire. But time will tell.

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Written By George Myers on April 14, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021

The madness of March is no longer contained to just on-court play and bracket pools.

It now stretches to legal sportsbooks, who each spring can count on tens of millions of engaged bettors and billions in wagers on NCAA basketball.

But not on the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard app.

The Lottery does not offer wagers on college sports, a decision that has long baffled those in the state. And never more so than in March.

While other states raked in betting dollars, Scoreboard had its worst month since last summer, generating just $24 million in handle and $1.37 million in revenue.

Consider it the latest chapter in the betting history of a state yet to find its footing.

See the numbers: March 2021 Scoreboard Gaming Activity

A month of lowlights

March’s revenue total was the lowest amount generated on Scoreboard since July 2020, when just over $1 million was garnered for the state. Scoreboard’s handle tally was also the lowest since July, a month that saw just $14 million in bets.

Similarly, the March tallies represent severe declines from February’s totals, including a roughly 19% drop in handle and a whopping 48% plummet in revenue.

Helping widen that gap was the Feb. 7 Super Bowl, proving again the value of allowing wagers on premier sporting events.

In conjunction, March’s margin was one of the worst in Scoreboard history.

Coming in at 5.71%, last month’s margin, or the percent of profit for the operator from each dollar wagered, was the third-lowest ever tallied. The only months to do worse were October and November 2019, Scoreboard’s first two months in operation.

Such a poor margin, more commonly referred to as hold, can play a destabilizing role in a state with just one operator.

Poor lines or other misjudgments in a state’s sole sportsbook can be the difference between a solid or poor month, considering the already tight margin for error in a monopolized environment.

Scoreboard’s poor showing in March also casts a pall over good news revealed at the March 26 Lottery Commission meeting, when officials disclosed that the app had finally turned a profit.

Scoreboard totally dependent on sports calendar

Altogether, March tells a revealing story about sports betting in Oregon.

The clearest revelation?

Where there’s pro football, there’s money. Where there’s not, there’s not.

Earlier this year, in January, Scoreboard generated nearly $35 million in handle, its highest total ever, and almost $4 million in revenue.

Two months before that, in November 2020, the operator brought home more than $4.1 million in profit for the Lottery, another record.

Both months are comprised of busy weeks for the NFL, specifically January, chock full of playoff football.

However, in months without these betting opportunities, Oregon struggles.

Plus, in even its strongest months, Scoreboard could do much better if it weren’t losing out on the substantial action of college football betting. Comparisons to other states, even those with similar monopolies, does not paint a pretty picture.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Basketball, for example, is immensely popular in Oregon.

Even without March Madness, the sport carried Scoreboard through March, tallying more than 421,000 bets, more than $15 million in handle, and nearly $700,000 in revenue.

Imagine if betting on college basketball had been allowed on Scoreboard. (Note: bettors can wager on college sports inside Oregon tribal casinos.)

Both the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers generated headlines throughout the tournament, with the latter’s run to the Elite Eight one of March’s most exciting Cinderella stories.

The entire region enjoyed success, in fact, as the PAC-12 had its best tournament in years and Spokane, Washington-based Gonzaga played its way to the tournament’s title game.

The solution for sustained mobile sports betting success in Oregon is clear: allow wagering on college sports.

And maybe that’s not so far away.

DraftKings launch could mean college betting

In a blow to Oregon bettors, legislation that would increase competition and open the state to additional sportsbooks failed to take hold, despite support from Gov. Kate Brown.

Even without the passage of HB 2127, however, Oregon could be on the brink of improvement, thanks to ongoing negotiations with DraftKings Sportsbook.

Both the Lottery and DraftKings have made clear their interest in working together, similar to the sportsbook’s existing relationship with New Hampshire.

The set-up would include DraftKings taking over Scoreboard operations. Easing the potential transition is DraftKings’ ownership of Scoreboard operator SBTech.

A move toward DraftKings would be significant for a couple of reasons.

First, it would increase the likelihood of college sports wagering, as DraftKings would almost push to offer college betting before taking over Oregon’s sports betting apparatus.

Second, it would give Oregon bettors the perks of the DraftKings app, which as one of the nation’s most popular would be a significant upgrade over Scoreboard’s current offerings.

Without competition in Oregon, there is little impetus for Scoreboard to begin the many customer-friendly deals seen on sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and others.

Bring the DraftKings brand to Oregon, however, and with it would come the benefits, like odds boosts and regular promos, already established on the popular app.

But for now, it’s all conjecture.

The existing reality is a flawed Scoreboard app, with hope for change on the horizon.

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George Myers is a writer with extensive experience in both news and sports reporting. He has primarily covered baseball and football, along with the intersection of sports and lawmaking.

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Written By Derek Helling on April 22, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021

For Oregon residents heading to Seattle for Seahawks games during the 2021-22 season, the list of potential diversions while there may soon grow.

On Monday, relevant parties took a crucial step toward launching the first retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos in Washington.

The Tulalip Tribes of Washington and the Washington State Gambling Commission have a tentative deal in place. If everything goes well, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at the group’s two casinos in the state could be ready for some football.

Details on the potential first Washington tribal sportsbooks

The Tulalip Tribes operate Quil Ceda Creek Casino and Tulalip Resort Casino. Both are less than an hour’s drive north of Seattle. After over a year since the state government authorized the commission to amend the gaming compact, everyone seems settled on the language.

“Sports wagering is an exciting new opportunity for Washingtonians,” Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman Teri Gobin said in an announcement. “The revenue sports wagering provides — like all tribal gaming revenue — stays in Washington, creating jobs and increasing charitable contributions that benefit communities throughout the state.”

“We believe that this compact amendment is a thoughtful approach by the Tribe and State that ensures sports wagering will be conducted with the highest integrity while protecting the public by keeping gambling legal and honest,” added Washington State Gambling Commission Chair Bud Sizemore. “The State and Tribal negotiation team did a great job coming to this agreement.”

Steps remain before WA tribal casinos open retail sportsbooks

Oregonians anxious to visit the properties should continue to watch, however. There are still several legal steps necessary to finalization. They include:

  • Review of the compact terms by the state legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee
  • Final sign-off by the commission and Tulalip Tribes representatives
  • Approval from the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs

Sizemore said he expects the sportsbooks to open at both properties in time for the start of the 2021-22 NFL season. In that time, others might be able to join them. Washington is home to nearly 30 tribal casinos that 23 entities other than the Tulalip Tribes operate.

Under the terms of the 2020 law, they are just as eligible to offer retail sports betting as the Tulalip Tribes. It simply requires a similar amendment to their gaming compacts. Of course, to get on equal footing with the Tulalip Tribes’ operations, time is of the essence.

A coming boon in sports betting at tribal casinos in the northwest?

Oregon residents who want to place legal bets in Washington should note that the market consists only of brick-and-mortar wagering. For that reason, tribal casinos in Washington will be identical to those in the Beaver State.

At Oregon tribal gaming facilities like Spirit Mountain Casino, run by BetMGM, all the action happens at the kiosks or windows. For Oregonians, there is some value. First, retail sportsbooks provide a unique experience that some bettors prefer to online wagering.

Also of value for Oregon bettors is the fact that brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in both states will offer wagering on college sports. The Oregon Lottery Scoreboard betting app, the lone online sportsbook in the state, has voluntarily punted on that action.

The next time the Seahawks have a home game, fans may be able to wager on that contest at a tribal sportsbook just a short drive away. For gaming interests in Washington, this fall could be the most exciting in years.

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Written By George Myers on April 29, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021

Final mock drafts have been filed. Sides have been taken.

All that remains is to place bets on one of the most intriguing NFL Drafts in recent memory.

Things kick off Thursday evening at 8 p.m. ET with a first round certain to be dominated by quarterbacks, from their own arm ability to potential protection and future targets.

That intrigue will in many ways emanate from the West Coast and involve the Oregon college football funnel.

Some picks on the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard betting app are easy to predict. Many more, though, less so.

San Francisco 49ers have major role with stacked QB class

Without a doubt, the San Francisco 49ers have been the most talked-about team in the lead-up to Thursday’s first round.

The national obsession started the moment 49ers GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan traded up to obtain the draft’s third overall pick.

That means the 49ers now possess the first spot still undecided by bookmakers.

Former Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence has -10,000 odds to go first overall to Jacksonville, followed by BYU QB Zach Wilson in the number-two slot to the New York Jets (-2,000).

After that, things get interesting.

Momentum for the 49ers pick, nearly guaranteed to be a quarterback, has swung from Alabama’s Mac Jones to Ohio State’s Justin Fields and even North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. On Scoreboard, here’s how things stand for which quarterback might go to San Francisco:

  • Mac Jones: -200
  • Trey Lance: +150
  • Justin Fields: +550

Interestingly, Fields (+225) ranks ahead of Lance (+250) to be selected fourth overall by the Atlanta Falcons.

The odds difference between the third and fourth slots is almost certainly based on coverage of the 49ers’ apparent interest in Lance, something not equally reciprocated in other league corners.

Atlanta Falcons a wild card at No. 4

The Falcons have not provided any sense of certainty for bettors.

Ahead of the two passers in the Atlanta’s odds ranking is Kyle Pitts (-110), a tight end from Florida. Creating even more variability are recent trade rumors involving star Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.

If not chosen by Atlanta, any remaining passers will then have to wait until at least the seventh overall pick, held by the Detroit Lions, for a real chance at being selected high.

Lance (+275) currently possesses the best odds to go to Detroit. Meanwhile, Fields (+250) has the best odds to go ninth overall to the Denver Broncos.

Where will Oregon OT Penei Sewell go?

As usual, the Oregon Ducks will have their presence felt in the NFL Draft.

The cream of the state’s crop is led by offensive tackle Penei Sewell, a former Duck who sat out his junior year to prepare for the draft.

Sewell’s most likely landing spot is the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 5, according to Scoreboard. The Bengals saw last season’s experiment with a weak offensive line end tragically when QB Joe Burrow tore his ACL. Cincinnati is now a leading candidate to use an early pick on offensive-line help.

Sewell’s odds to go fifth overall to Cincinnati sit at +100. Similarly, he is -450 to be the first offensive lineman selected in the draft.

Unfortunately for Sewell, former LSU receiver (and teammate of Burrow) Ja’Marr Chase is an even higher favorite to be picked by Cincy. Chase is currently situated at -125 to become a Bengal.

If the Bengals choose Chase, Sewell’s next best chance to go in the top 10 is No. 8 overall to the Carolina Panthers. Sewell is listed with the best odds to go there, at +250.

Other Ducks to be chosen in NFL Draft

In the event Sewell slips past Carolina, Los Angeles QB Justin Herbert is expected to advocate strongly for his former Oregon teammate, making it unlikely Sewell could fall too far.

Another star Duck in this year’s draft class is safety Jevon Holland, listed at +350 to be the first safety selected. Positionally, the only player ahead of Holland is TCU safety Trevon Moehrig-Woodard, sitting at -400.

Joining the Ducks will be a handful of Oregon State players likely to be picked at some point in the seven-round draft, including running back Jermar Jefferson (number 157 on The Athletic big board), edge rusher Hamilcar Rashed Jr. (no. 210), and cornerback Nahshon Wright (no. 278).

Photo by AP / Jason DeCrow
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Written By George Myers on May 12, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021
The Oregon Lottery's Scoreboard app remains far behind its sports-betting peers.

April data released by the Oregon Lottery shows that usage of its Scoreboard betting app improved last month from a disappointing March display.

That’s the good news.

The bad news?

Scoreboard remains far from reclaiming the peak reached earlier this year and far behind its sports-betting peers.

Basketball carries Scoreboard through April

Scoreboard tallied $25.3 million in handle from more than 760,000 bets in April.

Those totals – with a 10.8 percent margin – generated $2.7 million in revenue.

Scoreboard users’ average bet amount was $33.31, a figure largely in line with what Scoreboard has experienced to this point.

Basketball led the way in April, with more than 353,000 bets, $13.6 million in revenue, and $1.6 million in revenue.

The sport’s betting popularity is unsurprising in Oregon, a state led in many ways by the immense popularity of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Trail Blazers, in the throes of a battle to stay out of the NBA’s new play-in tournament, remain an intriguing team led by one of the league’s most entertaining players, Damian Lillard.

In other words, expect basketball’s betting popularity on Scoreboard to stick around.

Coming in second was baseball’s first full month (135,006 bets; $4.2 million in handle; $391K in revenue), followed by soccer (88,909 bets; $2.6 million in handle; $227K in revenue).

Other notable sports to receive bets included hockey ($1.4 million in handle), golf ($706K), and MMA ($784K).

More important was the month’s mini-bounce-back from March’s disappointing showing.

From March to April, Scoreboard generated $1.2 million more in handle and $1.3 million more in revenue. The platform’s margin, or hold, nearly doubled, from 5.7 to 10.8 percent.

Year-to-date figures tell intriguing story

The realities facing Scoreboard – good and bad – were on full display through the year’s first four months.

At the outset, January saw the sportsbook’s best month yet, generating nearly $35 million in handle and $4 million in revenue.

Scoreboard’s seemingly growing popularity was clear – but it has yet to be matched again.

Plus, even January – led by betting on the NFL playoffs – didn’t harness Scoreboard’s full potential.

And that’s because of the Lottery’s decision not to offer wagers on college sports.

That self-sabotage was never more evident than in March – a month of NCAA March Madness betting highlights for other states but just an underwhelming performance at Scoreboard.

One can imagine the lack of college sports betting also contributed to a significant drop in registrations once the NFL season was over.

Registrations dipped from 3,504 and 3,821 in January and February, respectively, to 1,772 and 1,456 in March and April.

Meanwhile, here are Scoreboard’s 2021 year-to-date figures through April:

  • Number of bets: 3.6 million
  • Handle: $113.9 million
  • Revenue: $10.6 million
  • Margin: 9.3 percent
  • Unique active players: Nearly 35,600
  • Average bet amount: $31.53
  • Registrations: 10,533

Basketball has reigned supreme through the first third of the year, generating 1.8 million bets, $63.6 million in handle, and nearly $5.5 million in revenue.

Still in second is football, which has tallied nearly a half-million bets and nearly $14 million in handle. Football’s revenue is ticking toward $1.9 million.

As the spring and summer proceed, expect soccer – led by the Portland Timbers and Major League Soccer – to become Oregon’s second-favorite sport to bet.

Through April, Oregonians wagered nearly 375,000 times on soccer. That led to more than $10.2 million in handle and $925,000 in revenue.

Unfortunately, the totals generated by Scoreboard so far this year are far behind peers like New Hampshire, which runs through a single sportsbook, DraftKings. Oregon is also considering a DraftKings rebrand.

Through just March, New Hampshire has garnered $166.6 million in handle and $10.2 million in revenue.

One place the state has lacked is hold; February, for instance, was stuck at just 3.5 percent.

April numbers have yet to be released for New Hampshire, but there is no indication they will do anything but significantly grow the gap.

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George Myers is a writer with extensive experience in both news and sports reporting. He has primarily covered baseball and football, along with the intersection of sports and lawmaking.

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Written By George Myers on May 18, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021
Timbers Partner With Luckii

The Portland Timbers have joined the growing trend of professional sports teams and legal, online betting partnerships.

The Timbers announced this week that the team has partnered with Luckii.com on a series of initiatives, including on-field promotions and broadcast integration.

Included in the multi-year arrangement will be an increased Timbers presence on the Luckii website.

‘Groundbreaking’ partnership to boost both sides’ exposure

The announcement, joined by Major League Soccer, outlined each element of the agreement between the Timbers and Luckii.com:

  • In-game and on-field sponsorships
  • Online promotions
  • Charitable initiatives
  • IP rights and website work
  • Luckii Timbers-themed game

Providence Park, home field of the Timbers, will include Luckii promotions both on the field and inside the stadium.

Also included will be Luckii’s presence on home and away games broadcast by FOX12 Oregon and ROOT Sports.

Luckii users, meanwhile, can “participate in a number of integrated promotions on Luckii.com,” according to the announcement.

That will include Timbers-themed prizes and “branded events.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Luckii as our official online gaming partner,” said Timbers President of Business Mike Golub.

“Since their launch in Oregon, we’ve discussed creative ways to introduce Luckii to our fans and are excited about this new multi-year partnership.”

Initiating the partnership was Matt Watson and his Portland company, Watson Creative. Watson is best known as Nike’s former creative leader.

“We are excited about this groundbreaking partnership with the Timbers,” said Luckii President Bill Yucatonis.

“The Timbers are an iconic brand in Oregon and a franchise with deep roots in the community, along with a dedicated and passionate fan base we are excited to connect with.”

Yucatonis said the experience has shown Luckii the “value” of engaging with MLS and its fan bases.

Excitement surrounding the partnership is evident on Luckii’s website, where users are immediately encountered with a “Go Timbers!” message that also directs people to Providence Park and related promotions.

Luckii, an online gaming platform with a pari-mutuel, historic horse racing setup, has also placed the Timbers logo at the bottom of its site.

What are Timbers’ betting odds on Scoreboard?

The Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard app offers myriad betting opportunities on the Portland Timbers.

The Timbers’ next game is Sunday, against one of the league’s best teams, the Seattle Sounders.

The Sounders are favored to win the match, at +140; the Timbers sit at +190. Bettors can wager on a draw at +245.

In the futures category, Scoreboard has the Timbers tied with the third-best odds to win the MLS Western Conference:

  • Sounders: +200
  • LAFC: +200
  • Sporting KC: +1100
  • Timbers: +1,100
  • FC Dallas: +1,200
  • LA Galaxy: +1,200

The Timbers, meanwhile, are +2,500 to win the MLS Cup. The Sounders and LAFC are tied with the league’s best odds, at +600.

Timbers bettors can also bet on a slew of head-to-head finishing-position wagers.

For example, the Timbers are positioned at -135 to finisher higher than FC Dallas (+100) and +350 to finisher higher than the Sounders (-625).

Photo by AP / Steve Dykes
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George Myers

George Myers is a writer with extensive experience in both news and sports reporting. He has primarily covered baseball and football, along with the intersection of sports and lawmaking.

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Written By George Myers on May 27, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021
The prospect of sports betting in Washington has in recent weeks made unprecedented progress, though major sticking points remain.

The prospect of sports betting in Washington has in recent weeks made unprecedented progress.

Good news, right?

For the most part, yes.

Major sticking points remain, however. Details must be ironed out for an industry many hope will launch in Washington before the NFL regular season.

Agreements aplenty with tribes to host sports betting

At the center of everything are tentative agreements between the Washington State Gambling Commission and Native American tribes. Upon its launch, the two will host sports betting in the state.

So far, Washington has come to tentative agreements to amend Class III gaming compacts with 15 tribes.

The first and most prominent of those agreements was reached between the commission and Tulalip Tribes of Washington, a deal that amends the tribe’s gaming contract to permit retail sports betting at its casinos near Seattle.

Announced last month, it came a year after Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation allowing sports betting at tribal casinos following the establishment of needed framework.

“We believe that this compact amendment is a thoughtful approach by the Tribe and State that ensures sports wagering will be conducted with the highest integrity while protecting the public by keeping gambling legal and honest,” said Washington State Gambling Commission Chair Bud Sizemore.

“The State and Tribal negotiation team did a great job coming to this agreement. There is still a lot of work before the first regulated sportsbook opens in our state, and I’m hopeful sports wagering can launch before the NFL regular season begins.”

Since the agreement with Tulalip, agreements aplenty have emerged, including with prominent tribes like the Kalispel and Snoqualmie.

Once enacted, casinos are expected to partner with popular operators like DraftKings and FanDuel to run casino sportsbooks.

“We look forward to providing this exciting new gaming offering to our loyal casino patrons, which will allow us to expand our tribal programs and community partnerships,” said Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert de los Angeles in a statement.

After legislative hearings, the most important date for sports betting proponents is June 10. This is when the Gambling Commission will hold a public hearing to vote on compact amendments.

If approved, amendments will be sent to tribal chairs and Inslee. Then, followed by the US Department of Interior and published in the Federal Register.

Differences will be notable between Oregon, Washington

One notable difference between Washington and Oregon is the prohibition in Washington of online or mobile sports betting off tribal grounds.

This means Washington will, for the time being, fail to recreate a mobile marketplace like Oregon’s Scoreboard, itself full of shortcomings. Most notable is Scoreboard’s prohibition on college sports betting, which doesn’t extend to Oregon’s tribal casinos.

Washington will allow betting on college sports, albeit not on games involving in-state schools. This serves as another revenue-stifling example soon to be on display in the northwest.

Washington, meanwhile, has also punted on the opportunity to expand future sports betting to non-tribal card rooms and horse-racing sites.

Legislators struck down a bill in January that would have extended sports gambling past tribal sites. They contended that an expansion could lead to tax dollars not paid by tribes. Scoreboard, for instance, has generated $33.6 million in revenue since October 2019.

Instead, the tribes argued that their role in sports betting will have a sufficient, all-encompassing effect on the state’s economy.

“The revenue sports wagering provides — like all tribal gaming revenue — stays in Washington, creating jobs and increasing charitable contributions that benefit communities throughout the state,” argued Tulalip Tribes chairwoman Teri Gobin in a statement last month.

The legislative acceptance of that argument means sports betting will be limited to tribal casinos.

But even those boundaries – from casino floor to parking lot or parking garage – have become a sticking point for some legislators, with public officials butting heads with tribal representatives on the exact parameters of geofencing and how far mobile betting should stretch on tribal grounds.

So, while Oregon has failed to become a leading voice in American sports betting, it’s neighbor to the north remains well behind in cracking the code of the highly-profitable industry.

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George Myers is a writer with extensive experience in both news and sports reporting. He has primarily covered baseball and football, along with the intersection of sports and lawmaking.

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Written By George Myers on June 17, 2021Last Updated on October 26, 2021
Oregon Betting Numbers May 2021

Scoreboard’s May figures stayed the course.

The Oregon Lottery platform remains flawed, a monopoly without college sports betting, and is in a season without NFL betting.

Not a great recipe and Scoreboard’s mediocre numbers bear that out.

Nonetheless, the state’s sole mobile sports-betting option saw in May an increase in activity for the second consecutive month.

It’s a trend state officials hope will continue until they can agree on an improved setup.

Scoreboard sees handle growth following a bump in April

Here is a summary of Scoreboard’s May figures:

Handle: $27.78 million
Revenue: $2.35 million
Number of bets: 791,177
Average bet amount: $35.11
Margin (hold): 8.46%
Unique active players: 19,806

It was the second consecutive bump in handle for Scoreboard, improving on the $24 million generated in the what-could-have-been month of March and the platform’s $25.3 million showing in April.

Compared to April, Scoreboard tallied roughly 31,000 more bets and jumped nearly $2.5 million in handle in May.

But that doesn’t paint the whole picture.

As a result of a margin dip of more than 2%, the Lottery revenue generated by Scoreboard dropped more than $378,000 from April to May.

To put those numbers in context, Scoreboard has generated $141.7 million in handle and $13 million in revenue so far this year.

The year’s best handle-based months, of course, came in January and February, both of which enjoyed the annual boost of the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl.

Basketball leads the way in May

Basketball once again led all other sports in terms of betting volume. Oregon bettors placed more than 416,000 bets placed on basketball, generating over $16 million in handle and nearly $1.5 million in revenue.

The next closest was baseball (136,000 bets) followed by soccer (82,000 bets).

More than half of May’s wagers were placed in the final weeks of the NBA season, followed by the start of the NBA playoffs.

Playing the biggest role was the recent playoff series between the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets, who played four of their six first-round games in May.

The series’ final two games were played last week and preceded the Blazers’ early exit and subsequent firing of head coach Terry Stotts.

The Blazers’ departure, meanwhile, will undoubtedly have an effect on Oregon’s June Scoreboard numbers.

Without the Blazers playing playoff basketball, casual fan attention on the NBA playoffs in likely to dip throughout Oregon.

Reliable bettors are likely to continue wagering on subsequent rounds, leaving the impact of the Blazers’ exit yet-to-be seen.

Year-over-year increase shows extent of pandemic recovery

Sports betting in Oregon isn’t perfect.

The state is leaving millions on the table by not allowing college sports wagering and so far embracing a monopoly-style mobile-betting environment.

Important legislation has halted, and Oregon’s sports-betting peers are running circles around it.

But Scoreboard’s figures also tell a beautiful story, one that continues to emphasize the sports world’s full emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May 2020, for instance, just $7.29 million was bet on sports in Oregon. Just shy of $600K was generated in revenue.

And that was up from the $4.43 million and $392,000, respectively, tallied the month prior, in April 2020.

And while, yes, sports betting began to hit regular numbers by the start of last year’s NFL season, these exhibitions of normality, from full MLB stadiums to expected sports-betting options, are a relief.

So take a moment to soak it in, and remember waking up at 4 a.m. to bet on South Korean baseball.

Photo by Bekas | Dreamstime.com
George Myers Avatar
Written by

George Myers

George Myers is a writer with extensive experience in both news and sports reporting. He has primarily covered baseball and football, along with the intersection of sports and lawmaking.

View all posts by George Myers