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The new game allows people to bet on all their favorite sports from the comfort of their own homes

By Meerah Powell

OPB reporter

The Oregon Lottery has released its new online sports betting game, allowing people to bet on all their favorite sports from the comfort of their own homes.  

Scoreboard is a mobile app — and desktop — based game, allowing users to wager bets on numerous professional sports, from football and basketball to rugby and NASCAR.  

"Scoreboard acts just exactly like a sports book that you would find in Las Vegas," said Chuck Baumann, senior public affairs officer for Oregon Lottery.  "It's the first time that the lottery has offered a game that people can purchase online, our first e-lottery type offering."  

Users can establish an online account where they will place wagers and collect winnings. The service is geo-fenced only to Oregon, meaning it can only be played by people within the state. It's also not accessible on tribal lands.

Regardless of its regional restrictions, Baumann said, people don't need to be Oregon residents to use the app. For example, if someone travels into Oregon from a neighboring state, they can place their bets on the app, and go back home to monitor their wins and losses.  

"That is very different than anything the lottery has ever offered," he said.  

Oregon Lottery had another sports betting game called Sports Action, specifically for NFL games, but players had to go to a retailer to buy a physical "play slip," Baumann said. That game ended in 2007, after the National Collegiate Athletic Association said it would not let a NCAA men's basketball tournament be held in the state if sports betting was legal.  

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states can decide for themselves whether to legalize sports betting. 

"When the Supreme Court ruled that sports betting was OK across the country, the NCAA issued a statement that it would adhere to that as well," Baumann said.  

In the more than a decadelong absence of Sports Action, Baumann said, "folks have been looking forward to another game just like that." 

Once a user creates a new account on Scoreboard, players will be able to wager a maximum of $250,000 using the game.  

Baumann said because of the nature of Scoreboard, there are ways to assist people who could be dealing with gambling addictions.  

"With all of our other games, it's anonymous play. But, with Scoreboard, you're going to go in and establish an account with your name and all those sorts of things," he said. "With that, we have the ability, as the player does, to monitor, what you're winning and what you're losing."  

Players can set limits on what they want to wager as well as a limit on the maximum amount of money they want to lose.  

"If there's a level the player has reached that's above what they've set, we have the ability to email and contact them and say, 'Do you understand that you're at your limit?'" Baumann said.  

In addition, he said the lottery will continue marketing gambling treatment programs to its users.  

In its first year, Scoreboard is projected to raise nearly $5 million for the state. In three years, that total is projected to be $37 million.  

However, that projected revenue could be lower than expected as the game was originally slated to release before the start of the professional football season.  

"It's difficult to say if there will be a loss due to the later-than-projected start of the game," Baumann said. "We will have a much more concrete idea about the accuracy of the projections after a month or two of having the game available."  

"As we are only two months into our fiscal year, we are hopeful that the revenue projections will hold true," he said. 

Revenue from Scoreboard will go toward the Employer Incentive Fund, which matches employer contributions to the Oregon's Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), which is about $27 billion in debt. 

The Legislature decides where all lottery dollars go and dedicated sports betting revenue to that fund in the last legislative session through Senate Bill 1049. Last financial year, according to its website, more than $725 million from Oregon Lottery went toward state and local programs such as public education and state parks.


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