Oregon Lottery

Oregon Lottery's Scoreboard app 'pretty hamstrung,' but you can still gamble

Oregon Lottery's Scoreboard app 'pretty hamstrung,' but you can still gamble

With no athletic events to bet on, virtually anywhere in the world, the Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard app is dormant these days.

No games, no bets.

“It’s pretty hamstrung,” is the way Chuck Baumann, senior public affairs officer for the Oregon Lottery, puts it.

But that doesn’t mean the state lottery isn’t still in the gambling business. There are still scratch-offs, video games and the like to satisfy those with an itch to wager.

“Currently, Scoreboard is just a fraction of the Oregon Lottery’s revenue,” he said. “We’re just going to weather the storm and when sports come back and sports bettors are all excited about wagering again, Scoreboard will be there.”

The possible closure of restaurants and bars will hamper those video games, but if places are open for carryout or pickup, expect the terminals to be up and running, too.

It’s been a slow start for the sports betting segment of the Lottery. In the words of Baumann, it’s still, “Five million in the hole, behind our projections.”

“The first nine months are below projections. A lot of that has to do with startup costs and us just getting a game like that up and going,

“We’ve had over 50,000 folks registered and set up accounts. So people were using it and liking it. But it’s kind of hard to do anything now with nothing to wager on.”

In the meantime, gamblers will have to settle for the other gambling the lottery provides.

“We had the largest two video weeks we’ve had earlier this month, before the virus ramped up,” Baumann said. “Traditionally, that part of the year, with tax returns, it’s that way.”

The only thing I can think of to bet on is when we might start seeing games again. But I don’t think anyone is going to take bets on that.

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.