Through the Oregon Lottery and DraftKings, Oregonians are currently able to bet on the results and achievements of professional sports games, teams, and athletes.
Betting on college sports, however, is prohibited.
A bill in the Oregon Legislature would legalize betting on college sports. But in his first public hearing, he faced backlash from tribal officials and anti-gambling organizations.
Senate Bill 1503, sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, would allow the Oregon Lottery to arrange play opportunities based on the results of college sports games.
The bill was introduced at the hearing with a pair of amendments, which would ban betting on individual sports performance and direct net proceeds to fund the Oregon Opportunity Grant program, the largest grant program funded by the ‘state and needs-based for students.
College sports betting already happens in the illegal, unregulated and fraud-prone market, Courtney said, and allowing it to happen within the Oregon Lottery would protect players.
Additionally, directing revenue to scholarships for students would have a significant impact on education funding, where there is never enough money for everyone, he said.
Courtney estimated the new revenue could add up to 3,000 new grants for students. “This will stabilize and permanently fund Opportunity Grants in a very powerful way,” Courtney said. “This is a major source of multi-million dollar funding.”
Courtney said a drafting error led to the amendment directing all net income to Oregon Opportunity Grants (it was supposed to be 50%), but he actually likes the amendment as it stands. is currently being built.
These changes drew praise from opponents of the bill, but not enough to change their underlying objection to the bill.
Justin Martin, representing the Confederated Grand Ronde Tribes, said SB 1503 would take funds away from Native American tribes in Oregon, which largely depend on casino revenue to fund essential services.
Some tribes have the ability to offer college sports betting, but can only do so on reservation lands, which are mostly located in rural areas and some distance from state population centers.
Tribes are already “inundated” with gambling expansion, Martin said, both from the attempted expansion of the Oregon Lottery and from out-of-state interests trying to enter the market. from Oregon.
Right now, tribal casinos only make up about 30% of the state’s market share, he said.
Martin encouraged lawmakers to set up a task force to study gambling expansion efforts, technological advancements, impacts on key stakeholders and how other states regulate gambling.
“(SB 1506) would take money out of the pockets of the tribes,” Martin said. “We need to pause and study this and look at the right way to do things in Oregon moving forward.”
Courtney disagreed: “This bill doesn’t take anything away from casinos, casino betting.”
Kitty Martz, executive director of Voices of Problem Gambling Recovery, also supported the creation of a task force to study gambling in Oregon and the state’s current regulatory framework. House Bill 4046 would create such a task force; it has not yet received a public hearing.
“We are becoming widely known in the gaming industry as the Wild West, where anything goes with gaming in Oregon,” she said.
Martz said round-the-clock access to gambling via mobile devices is very different from the “traditional” types of lottery games that existed when Oregon voters approved the creation of a state lottery in 1984.
The current paradigm – which allows for greater availability of gambling – also carries a higher risk of addiction, she said. This availability would also impact current tribal casino operations, she said.
“There’s every reason to think that would actually interfere with what tribes are doing with their brick-and-mortar set-ups,” Martz said.