With the NFL season in full swing and the NBA and NHL seasons beginning soon, Oregon bettors are likely eager to start placing sports bets in a legal environment. It’s looking like the wait will be over sometime next week, as the Oregon Lottery finalizes plans to launch its “Scoreboard” sports betting app, which will allow betting on professional sports only.
Lottery spokesman Matt Shelby told US Bets on Monday that testing is nearly complete and the Lottery is working with financial vendors with an eye toward launching the week of Oct. 7.
“As we come into the home stretch, we are working now to finalize all of the financial components, and some of them have timelines that are beyond our control,” Shelby said. “If everything works the way we hope it will, we would launch the week of the 7th.”
Dotting I’s and crossing all the T’s
Shelby went on to explain that the final piece is “checkoffs” from payment providers — credit- and debit-card companies that will allow bettors to fund their accounts. The Lottery has to have final approval from these companies before it can launch, and sports betting will be the Lottery’s first foray into online commerce.
Oregon is among four states that was grandfathered in under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and did not need new legislation in order to move forward with sports betting since the 1992 federal law was struck down in May 2018. The Lottery, which partnered with SBTech on “Scoreboard,” has been working on its app for more than a year, and unlike other states, there hasn’t seemed to be an urgent financial need to move quickly.
Rather, the Lottery has treated its new app more as a business opportunity that it wants to get right out of the gate, and not rush along, though fair-goers earlier this year got a sneak peek.
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To that end, Shelby said that even when the app is ready to go live, the Lottery will hold it back from public consumption for just a few more days to give it one last test.
“Once we do get that final approval and we move everything into the live environment, we’re reserving a couple of days for live testing” but only by Lottery staff before releasing it to the general public. Many operators have had live testing periods with a select group of bettors before going fully live, but the Oregon Lottery opted to keep its final testing closer to home.
When the app does go live, the Lottery will send out the requisite press releases, though Shelby said it will hold off on the bigger media buys until all the kinks are worked out. But it’s likely the news will spread on its own once the app launches.
“I anticipate that as soon as it is available online and at the app stores, (the news) will spread organically pretty quickly,” Shelby said. “There is a lot of pent-up demand.”
Already this year, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana and New York have launched some form of sports betting, and early numbers in Iowa and Indiana, both of which launched around the start of college football season, have shown strong demand. The Oregon Lottery isn’t the first to go live with sports betting in the Beaver State this year — the Chinook Winds Casino opened its brick-and-mortar sportsbook Aug. 27. But the Lottery will be the first — and only — mobile sportsbook in the state.