As the Oregon Lottery readies the launch of their sports betting app, known as Scoreboard, details are beginning to leak about the limits the app will enforce upon a bettor’s account.
According to a spokesperson for the Oregon Lottery, bettors could bet their account limit of $250,000, sparking head-scratching among the betting industry.
“The deposit limit is $250,000,” says lottery spokesman Matt Shelby. “Theoretically, if someone had the means to deposit a quarter-million dollars into their player account, they could wager it.”
With the news of high limit betting possibilities, the launch of the Scoreboard app has come under scrutiny by experts in gambling addiction.
“It is absolutely a public policy issue that every smartphone in the state is now a gambling device, yet neither the general public nor the Legislature had a voice,” says Kitty Martz, a former bettor who has been diagnosed with a severe gambling disorder.
Lottery officials acknowledge that the limit is quite high when compared to other states but the Scoreboard app is equipped with an extensive betting history and limits that will freeze the gambler out of the app if they’ve bet more than their pre-established limits over a designated time period.
The restrictions for the app were pushed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s administration.
“The Oregon Lottery provides an important revenue stream for our state, funding a variety of key services from education to state parks to job creation,” says Charles Boyle, Gov. Kate Brown’s spokesman.
“In order to preserve this revenue stream, the lottery is modernizing to serve new players while still promoting responsible gaming.”
But critics of the gaming expansion in the United States, including behavioral health experts believe that the high deposit limit will cause greater issues for individuals struggling to curb their gambling addictions.
The large limit “seems to be contrary to [the Oregon Lottery’s] prior message of responsible gambling and the idea that gambling should be recreational,” says Philip Yassenoff, a gambling treatment specialist at Cascadia Behavioral Health tells Willamette Week.
“It also increases potentially the risk for those individuals if they’re able to bet tens of thousands of dollars at one time. The amount of damage that can be done to them financially or emotionally in a short period of time is concerning to me as a therapist.”
Lottery Spokesperson Shelby told the media that safeguards will be in place that include “pop-up and email messages [that will be] sent to high-risk players” and “players deemed high-risk will not receive marketing messages.”
The Scoreboard app will also allow bettors to place in-game wagers, an immediate style of betting that certainly ramp up the engagement associated with impulsive betting.
Shelby tells the Willamette Week that the state hopes to bring in bettors who like traveling to Vegas or betting overseas by offering them a betting app that rivals the best of those areas. He downplayed the $250,000 limit news, telling the online newspaper that each game will be treated differently.
“The most important thing to note is that the lottery is not required to take all wagers—just like sportsbooks in Nevada,” he says. “The max wager the lottery will accept on any event will depend on the sport, odds and the lottery’s overall risk tolerance.”
Oregon plans to roll out Scoreboard this week to residents.
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