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Oregon Lottery to Oversee 3-Pronged Legal Sports Betting Market

Outline Map of Oregon

Legalized and regulated sports betting for online bettors in the USA has been sweeping the country like wildfire since PASPA was overturned in 2018. For the most part, however, states that have moved to legalize sports betting have been heavily concentrated in the eastern half of the United States. Oregon is set to change that this September when the state’s lottery plans to offer mobile sports betting in time for the 2019/2020 NFL season.

Oregon Sports Betting

One of the least talked-about and most surprising aspects of this entire situation is that Oregon will allow sports betting without having put the topic to a vote – at least, not anytime in recent memory. This is contrary to what we have seen in every other US jurisdiction that has legalized betting on sports.

Legalization Without a Vote


To know how Oregon was able to allow for legal sports betting without having to put the motion to a vote, you need to know a little bit more about the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

Supreme Court Justices 2018PASPA Prevented States From Legalizing Sports Betting Until the Supreme Court Struck It Down

The Act was quite simple in that, save for a few exceptions, it made sports wagering illegal throughout the entirety of the United States. One of those exceptions was the state of Oregon which, at the time, offered a sports parlay game through the Lottery known as Sports Action, which was grandfathered in as acceptable.

For several years, the Oregon Lottery offered Sports Action without breaking any laws whatsoever. In the early 2000s, however, the NCAA began openly opposing states that approved sports betting of any kind, and Oregon made that list. Under threat of losing revenue brought in from hosting NCAA events, Sports Action was done away with by 2007.

Despite the game no longer being offered by the Oregon Lottery, the previous exemption from PASPA means that sports betting was never made illegal in the state. The old laws that permitted the Oregon Lottery to conduct sports wagering activities were never repealed or invalidated.

As a result, the Oregon Lottery is able to offer sports betting without having to wait for new bills to pass, and it intends to roll a mobile product out by the end of the summer.

Logo of Oregon LotterySports Betting Will Be Managed Under the Auspices of the Oregon Lottery

Lawmakers Attempt to Derail Betting on Sports

Two Swords

As we have come to expect in the United States, there were plenty of vocal opponents to sports betting in Oregon. On May 2, state senators attempted to introduce an amendment to another bill – HB 3389 – that read in part:

“SECTION 3. The Oregon State Lottery Commission may not initiate or operate a lottery game for which tickets or shares may be purchased:
“(1) Via the Internet; or
“(2) Via a personal computer, mobile device or other personal electronic device.”

A similar amendment was proposed that would have required that all legal sports bets could only be booked through equipment owned or leased by the Oregon State Lottery. Neither of these amendments was successful.

Had either or them passed, Oregon would have been forced to approve sports betting legislation similar to what we have seen in many other states at least if it wanted to engage in online sportsbook operations.

Doubts Surrounding Technology Supplier

Man + Question Mark

Other controversy came with the selection of the operator that will eventually support the Oregon Lottery’s mobile sports betting platform. In the end, the Lottery chose a company by the name of SBTech, based out of the Isle of Man (UK). Though SBTech only operates in a few US states such as New Jersey and Arkansas, it is an established name across the global sports betting industry.

SBTech LogoSBTech Has Been Named a Tech Partner of the Oregon Lottery Despite Reservations in Some Quarters

When the Oregon Lottery officially announced that SBTech would be the chosen provider in March, the second-place finisher, Scientific Games, was quick to protest. Even though SBTech had sufficiently passed all of the Oregon Lottery’s background check requirements, Scientific Games openly claimed that SBTech was affiliated with companies and sites that operated in illegal markets, including Belgium.

Scientific Games was quoted as saying that SBTech was “affiliated” with a site known as 10Bet, which is on a list of banned sites in Belgium. In the end, Scientific Games aimed to diminish the credibility of SBTech, but the Oregon Lottery did not seem too keen on hearing them out.

According to Oregon Lottery’s Chief Gaming Officer Farshad Allahdadi, SBTech is a fine suitor, and he and his colleagues have found “nothing that would disqualify them.”

Points of Interest


It must be noted that sports betting in Oregon will be initially centered on professional sports only. This means that NCAA football and basketball games are off the table for the foreseeable future. The Oregon Lottery has left the door open for possible changes in this policy going forward however.

Sports betting will initially commence as an online application provided by SBTech, but the long-term plan is to offer betting kiosks in places that already sell lottery products (such as convenience stores) as well as restaurants and other retailers.

Mobile and online betting is seen as being ready by September for the upcoming NFL season. After that, it is expected that kiosks will begin popping up shortly after the New Year at authorized Lottery retailers. Finally, there are tentative plans to reintroduce the old Sports Action game at some point as the third component of Oregon sports betting.

Tribal Sportsbooks in the Offing?

Question Mark

There are eight federally recognized Indian tribes that have signed gaming compacts with Oregon’s government. It’s highly likely that we’ll see sports betting appear at some of them in the near future.

Under the terms of the agreements between the tribes and the state, tribal gaming facilities are eligible to offer whatever types of gambling are permitted elsewhere in the state. Once the Oregon Lottery deploys sports wagering products, the tribes will, in principle, be allowed to host their own sportsbooks too.

Spirit Mountain CasinoSpirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde Is One of the Tribal Gaming Halls That Might See a Sportsbook Open Eventually

All of this is subject to negotiations with Oregon’s leaders. The way tribal gaming expansion generally works, both in Oregon and other states, is that the state government agrees to allow new forms of tribal gaming to appear in exchange for a share of the revenue. In some cases, state officials even promise to safeguard the tribes against would-be competitors by placing limits on the gambling that occurs outside tribal lands.

It’s too early to tell yet exactly how this will shake out in practice, but we anticipate that the Oregon Lottery’s monopoly on licensed sports betting will not last longer than a few years.

Offshore Bookmakers Await Your Action


If you’re too impatient to wait for Oregon-licensed betting on sports, or if you simply wish to explore all your options, then wagering with an international sportsbook may be the right choice for you.

These experienced firms are basically untouchable from the point of view of US Federal and Oregon state law enforcement. Moreover, the old anti-gambling statutes that clutter up the Oregon law books are never employed to go after online bettors, so individual players like you are totally safe as well if they wish to head over to an online bookie and make a few picks.

Learn more about this subject with our overview of the leading USA-friendly offshore sportsbooks. You can also play casino games over the internet too, and we’ve compiled a list of the top online casinos for Americans. For exciting card game fun, check out our page devoted to all things USA internet poker.