New Jersey is the only state in the US to allow betting on virtual sports, but that could change soon. The state of Oregon is looking to add virtual sports betting to their catalog due to revenue losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Major sports throughout the world have been shut down due to the pandemic, and it has taken a huge toll on the sports betting market in Oregon. Gaming regulators have worked hard to pass legislation for sportsbooks to offer obscure sports, but they are looking to do even more.
The topic was first introduced at the Oregon State Lottery Commission last week, and they are set to have another meeting on June 26. If lawmakers can get their way, there is a chance that the commission will approve virtual sports betting at this meeting.
The Oregon State Lottery regulates the sports betting industry in the state, but they have partnered with SBTech. SBTech has launched its mobile app in Oregon, which is called Scoreboard.
SBTech could get virtual sports betting up and running relatively quickly due to their current contracts with virtual sports betting companies. SBTech has an agreement with Golden Race, Inspired Entertainment, and Leap Gaming.
The Oregon State Lottery has issued a temporary administrative order that outlines the need for virtual sports betting. The lottery warns that without virtual sports betting, customers will disengage from the Scoreboard app and cost the state millions of dollars.
Usually, lawmakers would have to get a new bill passed before any changes can be made to the sports betting rules in the state. The temporary administrative order will allow virtual sports to be added without a formal rule being passed.
What Are Virtual Sports?
Virtual sports are extremely popular in other parts of the world, but they have not been a big hit in the United States. Most state gaming commissions left virtual sports betting out of their original laws, and states have been slow to amend the rules.
Virtual sports are simulated sporting events that are played through a random set of numbers that are generated by a program. Odds are assigned to both sides in a matchup, but the numbers create a winner.
There are many different sports that are included as a part of virtual sports, but horse racing and car racing are extremely popular. Basketball, soccer, and football games are also offered in other parts around the world.
Scoreboard App Taking a Hit
Oregon saw its worst month of betting handle during April. Sports betting launched in October 2019, but the state was seeing growth before the coronavirus pandemic shut down live sports.
The Oregon Lottery announced that they lost over $450,000 during April, and they are looking to make up for that lost revenue. The Scoreboard app was expected to produce a loss of close to $6 million during their first full year.
Betting handle was just $4.4 million during April 2019, and it is expected to be even lower in May.