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22 November

Lawmakers’ Push to Control Oregon Sports Betting App

November 22, 2019

Tensions are mounting behind the scenes of Oregon sports betting as lawmakers and the state’s Lottery clash over the app Scoreboard.

Scoreboard saw the light of day in October, proving to be a success among Oregonians. In just four days of operation, the app accepted over $500,000 in bets. This figure caused unease among legislators concerned over the well-being of problem gamblers. One of the lawmakers, Representative Paul Evans, believes that there should be accountability.

But can lawmakers really push to limit the Lottery’s ability to provide residents with app-based wagering, such as Scoreboard?

Answer Needed

The answer to this question matters the most to the Oregon Lottery — the agency which provides one of the largest portions of discretionary revenue, coming only behind personal income taxes.

Lottery officials claim that they have the constitutional authority to choose which games will be offered in the app, without requesting legislative approval.

However, lawmakers disagree with this opinion, and they have Legislative Counsel on their side.

Dexter Johnson of Legislative Counsel said in a memo that a court would support legislative restrictions imposed on the use of apps for lottery gaming.

The behind-the-scenes power struggle could very well cement the fate of sports betting in Oregon. 

Scoreboard Deposit Limit — $250,000M Issue

Back in February, Oregon Lottery director Barry Pack said that the agency could set a deposit limit, appeasing the opponents of sports betting for a moment.

But Lottery’s next decision further increased the tensions between the opposing sides — yes, Scoreboard would have a deposit limit, but it would amount to $250,000.

Evans was the first to criticize the decision, calling it “irresponsible,” adding that a resident could buy a house with that amount of money.

The news of the limit had the attention of other lawmakers as well.

Senator Chuck Riley said $250,000 was beyond what people should be permitted to bet.

It remains to be seen what the future holds for Oregon sports betting app, but legislators, including Evans, have made it clear that they will introduce a set of bills in 2021 aimed at app-based wagering.

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