March Sports Betting Handle In Oregon Dips As Issues Remain

March Sports Betting Handle In Oregon Dips As Issues Remain
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The Oregon Lottery’s sports betting app, Scoreboard, had just over $9 million in March sports betting handle resulting in $937,750 in gross revenue, according to the monthly report released Friday by the lottery.

Scoreboard has been beset by issues since launching in October.

In addition to sports being shut down midway through March because of the coronavirus, Scoreboard had to be taken offline on March 27. A cyberattack hit SBTech, the sports betting technology firm that powers Scoreboard. An Oregon Lottery spokesman would not say how long the site was down, but said it is now up and running and no customer data was comprised.

RELATED: More on Oregon sports betting

The March handle figure was a 56% drop from February’s $20,899,825 in total handle. The lottery reported $1,481,197 in gross revenue in February from Scoreboard. March’s revenue was a 36% decline from February.

Besides the Oregon Lottery, other US-based legal betting sites that had to be taken down in late March from the cyberattack included Resorts, Golden Nugget and BetAmerica. Because of the cyberattack, SBTech’s sellers have been ordered to set aside $30 million in cash and equities to fund any losses resulting from the shutdown.

Oregon Sports Betting, March vs. February

March FebruaryChange
Gross Revenue$937,750$1,481,197-36%
Total Handle$9.01M$20.9M -56%

Director Warned Of Net Losses

A memo from Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack to the Oregon Lottery commissioners dated Feb. 28 warned of potential net losses this fiscal year.

His memo projected that Scoreboard would have a net loss in fiscal year 2020 of $5.3 million and that was before the shutdown of sports and the cyberattack. If the estimates from Pack’s memo bear out, and they now look optimistic, Oregon could become the first state to lose money on sports betting.

Pack’s memo said the lottery projected about $10.8 million in revenue on $178 million in handle for the fiscal year that ends June 30. But after an estimated $16.1 million in expenses, including vendor payments and other costs, there would be a net loss for the lottery.

Since launching on Oct. 16, 2019, the lottery has seen just over $96 million in total handle and about $7.1 million in gross revenue through March, according to the figures released Friday.

And although there will be some betting on the NFL Draft next week, April’s sports betting numbers could be far worse in Oregon and every state that has legal sports betting. There might not even be major sports to bet on in May. The PGA Tour announced this week it would restart its schedule in June. Even if Oregon hits its revised projections, it will not even be close to the initial estimates in the first fiscal year of sports betting.

Sole Provider An Issue For Oregon, Others

Unfortunately, states that have one legal online betting option like Oregon have had issues. With just one provider, bettors can't search for the best odds. Successful states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania have multiple sportsbooks to choose from.

In the West, Montana launched sports betting in March, running it through the state lottery without a true mobile sports betting market. Sports bets can be placed at lottery-run physical locations. The Montana Lottery's sports betting product is operated by Intralot. Early lines drew complaints from consumers, according to published reports.

On the East Coast, Rhode Island and New Hampshire have single-source options.

Rhode Island, also run by the state lottery with one betting option, has a strict in-person registration requirement that likely has cut into its revenue.

New Hampshire has DraftKings as its sole vendor. After sports betting first launched in the state, there were brief outages along the Maine border. Without another provider, New Hampshire had to wait for the technical difficulties to be worked out.

The day before the Oregon sports betting app officially launched in October, the lottery website crashed. It possibly was a sign of things to come.

In February, Pack’s memo projected the loss on sports betting and revised revenue estimates.

In March, sports and sports betting were shut down by the coronavirus. The cyberattack on SBTech then temporarily sidelined Scoreboard.

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