The state of Oregon is taking a chance with sports betting, scheduled to officially launch just before the football season opens September.
SBTech Malta Ltd. will run the sports betting in Oregon through the Oregon State Lottery. The retail and mobile sportsbooks will be controlled and monitored by SBtech Malta Ltd.
Oregon Lottery director Barry Pack made it official in late May by signing a contract with the company despite some controversy behind SBTech Malta Ltd.
One of the biggest sports gambling stages in the entire world, this move comes with a lot of speculation.
The Oregonian reported that Pack followed through on the contract with SBTech Malta Ltd. “despite allegations by a competing bidder that the company operates in countries where gambling is illegal.”
Playtech and Scientific Gaming were two other companies that the Oregon State Lottery talked to about running the sportsbook. But with a September deadline looming, SBTech was able to meet it.
Scientific Gaming was the second-place bidder which filed a formal protest in March shortly after the OSL showed it would pick SBTech. Scientific Gaming put out a claim that SBTech shouldn’t be eligible for the job and should be disqualified because it does business in Iran, Turkey and other countries where gambling and sports banning is banned.
With the slogan “we know sports” on its official website, SB Tech Malta Ltd. certainly has a lot of positive things to showcase. It has done a majority of its business outside of the U.S. in Europe and Asia but also has worked with other states, including New Jersey, which have legalized sports wagering since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban in May 2018.
Still, this move in Oregon is intriguing for quite a few reasons.
First off, Oregon State Lottery officials didn’t say much about the contract. They sent the contract to The Oregonian exclusively just after SBTech was able to redact it. The company blacked out pages in a whole and blacked out any areas that talk about how much Oregon is paying them to run the sportsbooks.
The OSL also didn’t publicize anything about the Oregon State Police background check of SBTech as a whole, according to The Oregonian report. Assistant director of security at the OSL, Darin Goodwiler was put in charge of providing a summary of detective’s findings. He then put his support behind SBTech and the OSL hired them shortly after.
“To be very clear, SBTech does not operate in any black markets,” the company said in a written statement The Oregonian published. “If it did, it would not be licensed in the numerous jurisdictions it is currently licensed in. After a very comprehensive investigation (including investigation into the falsehoods and misinformation circulated by SBTech’s competitor), the Oregon State Police gave SBTech the seal of approval.”
The Oregonian reported that Oregon is projecting a total volume of $330 million in the first year of legal sports gambling in the state (2019-2020) and $680 million by Year 3 (2021-2022).
With the partnership with SBTech, the OSL will control the sports betting operation as SBTech helps with the technology (apps for betting from mobile devices and desktops) and, of course, the actual odds for sporting events.
On top of online options, there has been some steady progress in Oregon with the addition of betting kiosks which could be in place by spring 2020.
Regardless, time is ticking for Oregon to launch its new legal sportsbooks by the time the always busy NFL season starts in late August. SBTech might be controversial for some, but if the company can get it rolling when the NFL kicks off, there isn’t much more Oregonians can ask from a sportsbook.