Oregon Sees Boost in May Sports Betting Despite Limitations

Oregon Sees Boost in May Sports Betting Despite Limitations
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As more states begin to report gaming figures from May, the return of sports is making a difference.

Oregon’s May total sports betting handle of $7,290,190 was an increase of 64.5% over April’s $4,430,648. Revenue from sports betting on the Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard app in May was $598,061. That was an increase of 52% from April’s $392,767.

RELATED: More on Oregon sports betting and gaming

The number of bets placed in May via the app was 223,325, It was 129,627 in April, according to a gaming activity report released by the lottery.

Iowa posted May sports betting figures Monday and saw huge increases in total handle and revenue.

Sports were shut down across the world in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving little — Russian table tennis — to bet on in April. May, however, saw the return of UFC, NASCAR, overseas soccer and Korean baseball. Two charity golf events involving the PGA’s biggest names were also played.

Although table tennis was still popular to bet on in May on Scoreboard, UFC went from 487 bets and $14,850 wagered in April to 50,694 bets and $1,033,694 wagered in May. Table tennis still saw the most bets at 76,822 in May, a decline of about 13,000 bets from April, according to the report.

Other popular sports to bet on in May included soccer (33,499 bets), baseball (17,972) and golf (16,541).

With the return of sports came the return of bettors. According to the report, there were 7,763 “unique active bettors” in May compared to 5,374 in April.

Oregon Sports Betting Revenue & Handle, May vs. April

May$598K $7.290M
April$392K $4.431M
ChangeUp 52.3%Up 64.5%

Continued Struggles with Lottery-Run Sites

Oregon’s Scoreboard app is powered by sports betting technology firm SBTech, and offers no other options for bettors in the state. Having only one operator, bettors can't find the best odds across multiple sportsbooks.

In Washington, D.C., and Montana, the lottery-run sports betting platforms, GambetDC and Sports Bet Montana, are operated by Intralot. Since launching, the odds on sporting events, especially future NFL games, have drawn criticism. In D.C., sports betting has been delayed several times because of lawsuits and the coronavirus.

Rhode Island and New Hampshire have single-source options, and have also had to deal with on-site registration and geo-fencing issues.

Scoreboard was also taken offline on March 27 because a cyberattack struck SBTech. The lottery did not say how long the site was down.

Even before the pandemic and cyberattack, Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack sent a memo to Oregon Lottery commissioners warning that this fiscal year could see potential net losses.

More Things to Bet On?

The lottery plans to offer “virtual” sports betting through Scoreboard, according to Willamette Week, an alternative weekly newspaper and a website based in Portland. The lottery would do so through a temporary rule-making provision.

If approved at its June meeting, the lottery would join New Jersey in having virtual sports betting. Computer programs — "random number generators" — determine the outcomes of virtual sporting events like horse racing and soccer, according to the Willamette Week story.

Even without approval on virtual sports, other sports are returning or planning to return soon. The PGA Tour plays its first tournament since the pandemic this week and the NBA and NHL are close to starting training camps for the conclusions of their seasons.