Oregon legislature

Poppycock! Legislators uneasy with losses in Oregon's sports betting app

Poppycock! Legislators uneasy with losses in Oregon's sports betting app

Apparently, it seems, some of our state legislators are upset and surprised about the sums of money people are wagering – and losing -- in the state’s new online sports betting app, "Scoreboard." State Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) is one of them:

But since then, the lottery established a limit that Evans and other critics think is no limit at all: $250,000.

Evans says that's irresponsible. "I think that's absolute poppycock," he says. "Two hundred fifty thousand dollars is the price of a low-end home. I think that's a joke."

The limit has the attention of other legislators, too.

"That's way beyond what we should be letting people bet," says Sen. Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro).

Lottery officials say Scoreboard is exceeding expectations: More than 30,000 players signed up in the first month, betting more than $13 million. The largest single bet so far is $10,000, and one player bet a total of $234,015, losing $12,750.

I think our elected folks in Salem must be just a little on the naïve side. Yes, if you legalize betting and put it on an app you can use on your phone, more people will gamble. And those people may just bet substantial sums of money because it’s so easy.

But if a player wagered a total of $234,015 since this thing began, it’s not a huge sum – nor is his percentage of losses, at $12,750. In the world of sports betting, people tend to wager with their hearts as well as their minds. They get carried away. I’m not a fan of that and don’t wager on sports. But a $250,000 limit? It's usually only going to impact somebody with enough money to lose $250,000.

But I will say this, they’ve probably been betting illegally, anyway, and now, at least, the state gets a portion of it. And there is a control, in that you make bets based on how much money is in your account and when that money runs out, you can’t bet. So, at least in that scenario, nobody is going to get his or her leg broken because they didn’t pay their bookie.

The outcry in the legislature amuses me. I mean, did they think people wouldn’t lose? Did they think they could stop people from becoming addicated to gambling any more than they can stop them from becoming addicted to alcohol?

That’s so Oregon. Next thing you know, the state will attempt to pay them all back for their losses.

And that, of course, would be poppycock.