Oregon Trying to Funnel Sports Betting Revenues to Pensions


By Jake Perper

May 24th, 2019 - 8:45am

Oregon is making moves to add legal sports gambling to its state in due time.

The Oregon Lottery has shown signs of employing sports betting through the use of mobile devices or tablets for over the past year. Now one of the biggest issues is about where the money will go.

Just this month, Senate Bill 1049 was introduced by leader and Senate President Peter Courtney and legislative leaders. On Thursday, the bill passed the Senate 16-12 as lawmakers suspended their rules to rush a vote, according to The Oregonian.

Oregon lawmakers proposed a reduction of the unfunded liability of the Public Employee Retirement system. It would be done by extending the period of repayment while getting public employees to pitch in for their pensions and change the rules on how many hours retired people would be allowed to work.

The Willamette Week points this out from the bill’s pitch.

“By far the biggest source of relief in that initial proposal is stretching out the repayment period, which is essentially an accounting gimmick that adds risk to the system without reducing employers' liabilities.”

What Are Revenue Possibilities in Oregon?

On Monday, Senate Bill 1049 saw a new amendment added which calls for the revenue from sports gambling to be attributed to paying the liability.

Following things up on Tuesday, the Joint Subcommittee on Capital Construction took into consideration a recommendation of adoption of that said amendment.

Just last week, Willamette Week reported, Senator Chuck Riley pitched a different amendment that would forbid the Oregon Lottery from going into this new venture that includes sports gambling options via mobile devices.

On top of that, it remains to be seen if any of the nine tribes in the state Oregon want to be intertwined in this new possible venture that the Oregon Lottery could add to the mix.

Either way, Oregon – home of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer – would probably make money from sports wagering at a pretty good pace. According to The Oregonian, lottery officials estimate that legal sports betting could bring in $330 million in the first year alone.

If its legislation goes through, Oregon would join the growing list of states to legalize sports gambling since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on legal sports wagering outside Nevada.

Oregon State Lottery’s Role in Sports Betting

Initially, the Senate was going to have a second reading Thursday with a third reading set for Friday. But the Senate went ahead with its vote Thursday despite criticism that it was “kicking the can” into the future on pension funding, The Oregonian reported.

As of now the Oregon Lottery has four main functions of the lottery funds that the company features. Those four functions are the No. 2 source of revenue in the state right after personal income taxes.

In this order, these top four functions are directed toward: Education, 58 percent; economic development, 26 percent; state parks enhancement, 15 percent and problem gambling treatment, 1 percent. These four functions are authorized in the state’s constitution.

Last month Oregon struck a tentative deal with SBTech as a partner in its legal sports betting operations. But with challenges in the way, legal sports gambling in the Beaver State is far from a done deal.

Written By
Jake Perper

Jake Perper covers gambling news for TopUSBets.com. He has been a sports writer for a decade, covering every level of sports.

He’s currently the lead scout for Prep Hoops Florida based out of Tampa, Florida and has covered the Chicago Bears for the... Read More

Jake Perper covers gambling news for TopUSBets.com. He has been a sports writer for a decade, covering every level of sports.

He’s currently the lead scout for Prep Hoops Florida...

.. Read More