It launched later than anticipated, but online sports betting in Oregon is now up and running during the busy football season.
The Lottery was unable to get legal online sports betting launched by the beginning of the season in September, as hoped, but the real-money betting app hit the web on Oct. 16. The app is available for download on iPhone and Android devices.
In April 2019, the Oregon Lottery Commission approved the Lottery’s recommendation to award the state’s sports betting contract to SBTech. There has been some challenge to the award of the monopoly contract from Scientific Games, but that petered out and SBTech will now provide the state sports betting platform.
Oregon is taking a unique West Coast approach to the issue and will roll out online sports betting before retail sports betting. All other states have launched live sports betting through their casinos first, although the District of Columbia will probably follow Oregon’s example.
In all there will be three roll-out phases. Online first, followed by self-service sports betting kiosks and then a lottery version of sports betting. The final game to roll out will be similar to the Sports Action parlay game which was first offered in 1989.
SBTech itself will have no problem getting its technology up and running in time. It has sports betting operations live in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Mississippi. Any delay will come from the Lottery putting consumer protection front and center to make sure there is full regulatory approval of every element of the sports betting offer.
As soon as the Lottery introduces sports betting the tribal casinos will be able to do the same. The terms of the state compact with the tribal nations means they can offer everything that is offered in the state.
What sports betting is allowed in Oregon?
The gambling legislation in Oregon gives a state monopoly to the Oregon Lottery. That level of state control convinced lawmakers to give the Oregon Lottery Commission broad powers to decide on what games it can introduce.
The Lottery provides a lot of money for the state. In fiscal year 2018, the state lottery handed over $726 million into the fund that pays for projects across the state. That gives it a lot of firepower when it wants to move into new business verticals. On the other hand it is exceptionally cautious to protect the public.
This level of caution means that sports betting will be restricted to pro-sports only. So no college basketball or football.
College sports are not excluded from sports betting in Nevada or New Jersey. Oregon is playing a lone hand here, but maybe when game integrity is more established the Lottery may change its plans.
Where can I legally make sports bets in Oregon?
The short answer is anywhere within the state’s borders. Oregon is launching online and mobile sports betting first, so initially all legal sports betting in Oregon will take place online.
Modern geo-location technology is amazingly accurate. The SBTech platform will be able to determine whether a bettor is within the state borders.
Unlike some states Oregon bettors can set up an online sports betting account without having to go to a casino in person. This is a legacy of the state having no casinos outside of tribal lands.
SBTech is also a specialist in sports betting kiosks. These allow for sports bets to be placed at retail locations and will be deployed to lottery ticket vendors in the second phase of implantation.
Live sports betting will be available at some of the tribal casinos. This won’t be available until after the Oregon Lottery launches. The casinos will also be able to launch their own online sports betting, and this is where you may see some of the big brands enter the market.
Oregon tribal casinos
|Chinook Winds Casino||Lincoln City||Confederated Tribes of the Siletz|
|Indian Head Casino||Warm Springs||Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs|
|Kla-Mo-Ya Casino||Chiloquin||Klamath Tribes|
|The Mill Casino & Hotel||North Bend||Coquille Indian Tribe|
|Seven Feathers Hotel & Casino Resort||Canyonville||Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians|
|Spirit Mountain Casino||Grand Ronde||Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon|
|Three Rivers Casino||Florence||Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians|
|Three Rivers Casino Coos Bay||Coos Bay||Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians (Class II)|
|Wildhorse Resort & Casino||Pendleton||Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation|
What big sportsbooks will offer online sports betting in Oregon?
Assuming the tribal casinos do enter the market, they will need their own sports betting platforms. In simplistic terms there are two types of platform, pure technology platforms and big brand platforms.
SBTech is a technology platform that doesn’t offer sports betting anywhere in the world under the SBTech brand. In the US it has casino partners such as Churchill Downs in Pennsylvania and Mississippi and the Resorts Casino and Golden Nugget in New Jersey.
But there are big brands in the US market. These bring not just technology, but name recognition and considerable online marketing skills to their partner casinos.
Branded and un-branded sports betting platform providers active in the states where sports betting is legal include:
- Scientific Games
- William Hill
The Oregon Lottery will offer wagers on all the big professional US sports, but nothing on college sports such as NCAA games.
What sports can I bet on in Oregon?
The SBTech platforms in other states offer wagers on:
- American Football (NFL)
- Baseball (MLB)
- Basketball (NBA)
- Hockey (NHL)
Less common sports betting options are also available including; Aussie Rules football, cycling, motor racing, cricket and rugby union.
How do I start online sports betting in Oregon?
Opening an online sports betting account is as simple as registering for any online product or service on the internet.
To open your account you need:
- Basic personal information such as full name, address and date of birth
- Your email address
Then you choose a screen name and account password.
The Oregon regulations will determine whether you need to provide any other information. Before cashing out you will certainly need to provide proof of identity. Typically this involves sending a scan of your passport or driver’s license.
The process is the same whether you set the account up for a mobile device or for your laptop. If you want to make bets from your mobile you will need to download the appropriate app.
Android and iOS devices will be supported. Android will certainly be available at launch. Apple Playstore terms and conditions mean that the iOS app may take longer to appear in the store.
Is it safe to deposit money at an online sports betting site?
This is where state-regulated sports betting is a massive step forward in customer protection.
It is as safe as it possibly can be to deposit money at a state-regulated sports book. The Oregon Lottery is not just trustworthy. Should there be any problems at all, you have the protection of state and federal law.
If you currently place online sports bets offshore, you have no legal recourse at all. Your money is definitely not safe. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 made it illegal for US financial institutions to process gambling transactions that are not legal under US law.
The UIGEA makes it hard for offshore illegal operators to take deposits and process withdrawals. No such problems exist for legal operators.
The Oregon Lottery will allow deposits and withdrawals from a wide range of options. In New Jersey the SBTech platform accepts deposits from:
- VIP Preferred (ACH)
- Play+ Prepaid Account
- Online Banking Transfer
- Transfer from Safekeeping
The Oregon Lottery may not make all of these options available at launch, but expect most or all of them to appear fairly quickly.
Withdrawing money will also be quick and easy. Not all deposit options are suitable for withdrawals but what will be offered will be fast and dependable.
What other gambling is legal in Oregon?
Portland Meadows offers a full season of quarter horse and thoroughbred racing. Off-tracking betting is available at 11 sites overall throughout the state. Grants Pass Downs is another racetrack, and there are also racing meets each summer in the cities of Union, Prineville, Tillamook and Burns.
Oregon sports betting requires no new legislation
Legal state-regulated sports betting is spreading across the US. In May 2018, the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992.
This law prevented states from introducing sports betting legislation. It granted only four exceptions, Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. These states all had existing sports betting legislation on the books. The Sports Action game offered by the lottery provided Oregon with the necessary pre-dated legislation.
As a result, the Oregon Lottery did not need to wait for new legislation before proceeding with its sports betting plans. However, it has moved relatively slowly because it wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be any legislative opposition. No point in launching an expensive project only to have the state legislature pass a law against sports betting.
So far, so good, but there is a potential risk still waiting in the wings.
An amendment to House Bill 3389, submitted in May 2019 proposes to make internet lottery sales and sports betting illegal. The bill;
“Prohibits commission from initiating or operating games for which tickets or shares may be purchased via Internet or personal electronic device.”
This amendment was a shocker when Sen. Chuck Riley, chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and General Government proposed it.
If it passes, all bets, at least all online sports bets will be off. For now, the bill is locked in the Revenue Committee and looks unlikely to go anywhere.
Online poker and casino games will need new legislation before they can be offered over the internet. There is no appetite for this yet, but a successful sports betting business will provide an impetus for future change.
I’m betting at an offshore sports betting site why should I stop?
Offshore sports betting sites such as Bovada are simply not legal in the US.
As soon as Oregon launches legal sports betting it makes sense to get back to the legal offer. Not only is your money safer in the legal market, the sports betting product is better too.
Offshore sites do not have access to the legitimate league data that legal sports betting operators get. That means they can’t offer the same level of sports betting experience. For example, in-game betting is much richer with more options at legal sports betting sites.
The Oregon Lottery provides employment in Oregon and sports betting profits will go to projects in the state. Why send profits offshore to some disreputable company that flouts US law?
So far US sports betting is offering odds at least as competitive as black market sites. The promotions and marketing offers are great. There is no reason to bet offshore anymore.