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Where’s the Oregon sports betting app? Lottery delays Scoreboard again amid growing concerns.

waiting skeleton

Oregonians… are still waiting for the state’s mobile sports betting app to go live.

Unfortunately, the Oregon Lottery has delayed the launch of Scoreboard—the state-run online and mobile sportsbook app—for the second time in less than two months.

And now, with no official timetable given and numerous documented contradictions and controversies surrounding the launch, it’s unclear when exactly the Lottery will be ready for Scoreboard to go live. Here’s everything we know so far.

Scoreboard’s Monday delay dilemma

Oregon’s Scoreboard app and website were reportedly scheduled to begin accepting wagers statewide via smartphones, tablets, and computers on Monday, October 8, but when yesterday’s start day arrived, Lottery officials were initially all quiet on the Northwestern Front.

The first report on Scoreboard’s launch came from FOX 12 Oregon KPTV on Twitter, who got wind of the delay from the Oregon Lottery at around 9:00 am PT and posted the following:

“Hello, the original plan was for the app to launch today but we just heard back from the Oregon Lottery and it has been pushed to potentially next week.”

Mike Prater, co-host of Idaho Sports Talk and columnist for The Idaho Press, also posted about the delay, relaying information he received from the Oregon Lottery spokesperson that said Scoreboard has a 95% chance—or roughly -1900 odds ($19 bet wins $1) for the sports bettors out there—of launching next week.

“Professional sports gambling in Oregon – through the state’s new #Scoreboard app – is “95 percent” certain to start next week, per @oregon_lottery spokesman. No college betting planned as of now …”

However, because no official word was given throughout the morning, residents looking to bet on sports in the Beaver State took to Twitter and began asking around about whether the state’s only legal sports betting app would be launching on Monday.

One betting hopeful, with the handle @salex1954, tweeted at the Oregon Lottery’s official account at around 11:00 am PT and asked: “@oregon_lottery Hi is the Oregon Scoreboard app ready for download today as was originally scheduled?”

After a few minutes—and roughly an hour and a half after reportedly telling Oregon’s local news station about the weeklong delay—the Oregon Lottery replied back and said, “Not just yet. We’re being very caution in our approach to testing, security and reliability. Hang in there; we’re very close!”

The Lottery’s Twitter account issued the same copy and paste response to a couple of other individuals before going quiet for a few hours.

Then, late in the day at around 4:00 pm PT, another Twitter user, by the handle @NW_503, asked, “@oregon_lottery any update on when sports betting will go live?”

Approximately a half-hour later, the Oregon Lottery responded to multiple users with the following statement:

“We are being VERY cautious with our approach to testing, security & reliability. The fact is, we have one chance to do this right the first time and over the past week or so, we have run into a snag or two that needs attention and time. Please hang in there, we’re very close!”

Despite telling some outlets that mobile sports betting had been delayed by another week, the Oregon Lottery never issued that information in any of its responses on social media.

Oregon Lottery blames media coverage for backlash

Early this morning, Twitter user @gimme6schlitzes replied to a previous thread and said, “You should [probably] stop putting out release dates until you’re done testing…”

The Oregon Lottery responded three hours later with the following statement:

“Agreed, which is why we’ve been putting out estimated dates only. Unfortunately, some media reported these dates as confirmed launch dates. Regardless, we’ll have it launched as soon as we know it’s fully ready. Thanks for your patience!”

While sports betting media outlets did their job by reporting on the latest information given, it’s worth noting that the Oregon Lottery’s Twitter account had repeatedly teased yesterday’s start date for Scoreboard that it would ultimately fail to meet.

 

Twitter user @cbrown038 asked The Oregonian earlier this morning for an update and said, “@Oregonian Any insight to the launch of the @oregon_lottery Scoreboard app? The lottery doesn’t respond to interested citizens. Thanks.”

And the reply from Oregon Lottery—the latest tweet from the official Twitter account—essentially mirrors the few responses given yesterday and continues to withhold exactly why the app has been delayed.

“We’re excited to get this launched too! That said, we are being VERY cautious with our approach to testing, security & reliability. Over the past week or so, we have run into a snag or two that needs attention and time. Please hang in there, we’re very close.”

With no new information on the state’s sports betting app, we have to go back before from the events from yesterday and today to see that this wasn’t the first time the Oregon Lottery had announced a delay.

Conflicting reports over Oregon’s sports betting app delay

Over the Summer, officials stated they planned to have the Scoreboard app ready in time for the 2019 NFL Season opener on Thursday, September 5.

However, with their target date a fortnight away, spokesperson Matt Shelby made it clear that the Lottery’s Internet-based betting platform would not be ready for the first NFL game of the new season due to not meeting their quality standards.

At the time, the app was delayed indefinitely, and officials told reporters that it might be several weeks or several months until the start date.

Pushing back the launch date also paved the way for the Siletz Tribe’s Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City to open its sports lounge on Tuesday, August 27. And when the first wager was placed, Oregon had its first sportsbook—becoming the 12th state to offer legal sports betting

There are now reports suggesting that yesterday’s delay was because officials did not receive approval from its payment processors, but that conflicts with the being “cautious with our approach to testing, security and reliability” response the Lottery gave Monday afternoon.

The dark cloud hanging over the Scoreboard app

The SBTech, a Malta-based gambling provider, partnership with the Oregon Lottery could potentially be factoring into why there have been multiple delays since the banks may not want to authorize them until due diligence is exercised.

Lottery Director Barry Pack signed the controversial agreement with the overseas provider over the Summer to power the Scoreboard app, and since then, Lottery officials have refused to release the SBTech background check performed by the Oregon State Police.

In addition, both the Lottery and SBTech have refused to disclose the details of the agreement, and to date, have only released an extremely redacted version of the contract document to The Oregonian—which purposely excludes vital details about how much of Oregon’s taxpayer money is being used to fund the state-run Scoreboard app.

In an attempt to quell concerns over the contract, Shelby told The Oregonian a couple of weeks later that the Lottery forecasts $26.8 million in payments to SBTech over the next three years from a projected $332.8 million handle in year one to the $722.3 million wagered in the third year.

Shelby added that the estimated to the provider are based on a percentage of the state’s revenue from sports betting and assured Oregonians that their tax money would not be used for payments to SBTech.

But with the Lottery refusing to disclose contract details and having no app to show—thus, no sports betting revenue to take in—it begs the question: Who’s been paying SBTech to design and build Scoreboard up until to this point if it’s not the Oregon taxpayers?

Not the first state with sports betting controversy

But Oregon is far from the only state that’s had both controversies and delays when a state Lottery attempted to launch sports betting this year.

Even though Montana was the first state this year to sign sports betting legislation into law, its Lottery announced in mid-September that it had pushed back the start of sports betting until sometime in 2020

Disagreements between the Montana Lottery and lawmakers about whether Intralot, a Greek gambling prover, was allowed to operate a sportsbook under a prior contract was the primary reason for the delay.

And Washington DC has been embroiled in numerous controversies since the DC Council narrowly approved a $215 million no-bid contract with Intralot to power the only city-wide mobile sports betting app allowed in the nation’s capital—which will be available from, you guessed it, the DC Lottery.

Or maybe not. Along with coming under fire numerous times this year, a local app developer is now suing the city and claims it violated DC’s self-governing law when it did not allow for a competitive bidding process. A full hearing is set for Friday, October 18.

What states can learn from troubled sports betting starts

After we confirmed Scoreboard’s second delay yesterday, one Twitter user responded to us and stated, “Oregon delayed again. Way to go Oregon. The government is running it, and can’t get it right. Who would have figured?”

It’s hard to dispute that point. States with a free-market approach to legal sports betting have had much more success and a smoother rollout overall.

And other states that have the Lottery established only as regulators—such as West Virginia—have had rocky starts, but overall, are expected to do well in the coming fiscal years due to having competition from well-known sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings.

The problem appears to stem from when both a state and its Lottery authorize themselves with the exclusive right to offer a sportsbook, in one form or another.

To think the state and a Lottery can run a sportsbook better than the people who’ve been successful in the US sports betting industry—mostly in Nevada—for years or even decades is ludicrous, to say the least.

And that’s where Oregon’s lone, yet-to-be-launched sports betting app sits currently.

Despite Scoreboard supposedly receiving pretty good odds from Oregon Lottery officials to launch early next week, that start date is far from a safe bet—hopefully, it does have a successful and clean start right out of the gate.

But for Oregonians, it will ultimately be up to them to decide whether a wager on the Scoreboard app is worth making at all.

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