Oregon State Lottery Spokesman Says State Could Start Offering New Sports Betting Options Soon

Some rustlings of the planned release of a new option for sports betting in Oregon have started to make their way out of the Beaver State in the last few days.

Oregon Lottery spokesman Chuck Baumann told local media that the state-sanctioned lotto had already directed its staff to develop a new “virtual sports betting game” well in advance of the momentous May 14 decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Betting Act of 1992 (PASPA). Even though Oregon was one of four states that was allowed to offer some form of sports wagering to residents and visitors (Nevada was really the only one of the four to have a full sports betting menu, however), the state’s popular Sports Action NFL lottery has not been offered since 2007. That makes Baumann’s reveal of an entirely new sports betting option – even if it is a virtual one, featuring fake teams and athletes playing a randomized game – something to take note of, as it at least serves as an indication that Oregon is interested in pursuing a return for sports betting more generally.

Baumann told local reporters that the state lotto would not be moving with undue speed, but instead would take a measured approach and wait for a cue from lawmakers before proceeding with a formal launch of the new product. That said, it is entirely possible that the virtual football game, in which players try to predict what will happen next in a computer-generated game between fictitious squads on a digital gridiron, could start appearing at video Keno terminals and other gaming kiosks around the state “soon.” However, all the excitement – or what will have to pass for it in this case – will necessarily be couched in the admission that there are as yet not any more plans for further expansion into the sports betting marketplace.

“[The Oregon Lottery] wouldn’t move on anything until we had conversation with our stakeholders at the Capitol," Baumann told the Statesman Journal in an interview from last week. "We are not in any hurry to offer up other sports games. The key thing is offering games people want to play.”

Despite the seeming reluctance on the part of the Oregon Lottery to take too big of a step forward now that PASPA is gone for good, there are advocated for expanded sports betting in the Beaver State. The primary source of the interest is coming from the state’s tribal casino operators, which, naturally, want both a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions affecting what could be a tremendous windfall of new income and a slice of the pie when a deal is sealed. For now though, the tribes are holding steady, waiting, like the state lottery, on what the folks at the statehouse have to say regarding the PASPA repeal and what it could mean for the future of sports betting in Oregon.

“We're certainly looking into what this means for Oregon," said Grand Ronde tribal member and lobbyist.

Leave a Comment