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Oregon Tribes Worry College Sports Betting Bill Could Cost Them Millions

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
11 min read
Oregon Tribes Worry
  • Senate Bill 1503 Would Allow Oregon Lottery to Take Bets on College Sports 
  • Oregon Native Tribes Concerned SB 1503 “Takes Money from Tribes’ Pockets”
  • College Sports Betting in Oregon Already Happening via Illicit Sportsbooks

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Senate Bill 1503 Would Allow Oregon Lottery to Take Bets on College Sports

Sports betting has been legal in the state of Oregon since August 2019, but right now Beaver State bettors can only place wagers on pro teams since betting on college sports is (for the most part) not allowed, that is unless Senate Bill 1503 (SB 1503) becomes a law there.

Oregon lawmakers were recently introduced to SB 1503, a piece of legislation sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney that would legalize betting on the outcome of college games, an activity that can only take place legally now in person at certain rural native reservations.

With the new law in place, gamblers would still be prohibited from wagering on individual athletic performances since those players are still at an amateur level.

The way sports betting works now in that state is the Oregon Lottery controls the market using a sportsbook app they have contracted from SBTech, a European company that essentially handles the platform using the Oregon Lottery’s website as the main downloading portal.

If SB 1503 becomes a law, the total sports betting handle in Oregon should increase, a positive outcome that would please everyone but the state’s native tribes.

Oregon Native Tribes Concerned SB 1503 “Takes Money from Tribes’ Pockets”

Up until sports betting became legal in Oregon in 2019, the state’s native tribes controlled gambling activities there since their casinos were the only place for resident bettors to legally wager, with eight major casinos to choose from including the impressive Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde.

Now with the Oregon Lottery offering legal sports betting, the tribes argue that it negatively affects their existing bottom line as they make up only 30% of the total market share, a loss that could add up to millions of dollars and effect the valuable services which they fund.

Native leaders want to take more time to consider the full financial implications of adding college sports betting market to the mix, with Justin Martin, representing the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, saying:

(SB 1506) would be taking money out of tribes’ pockets. We need to take a pause and study this and look at the right way to do things in Oregon moving forward.

The reality, however, is that gambling on college sports is already happening in Oregon.

College Sports Betting in Oregon Already Happening via Illicit Sportsbooks

A state can make sports betting illegal, but that does not mean residents still won’t gamble – they just spend that money elsewhere using offshore sportsbooks and local bookies, a reality that seems to justify creating a legal market that can be regulated and taxed.

Oregon bettors have been placing wagers on college games those illicit ways already, so logic dictates a bill like SB 1506 is necessary to redirect those outgoing monies inward to fund programs like the Oregon Opportunity Grant program that helps provides tuition for needy residents.

However, the tribes do make a valid argument, one that will most likely be debated in the weeks to come, so check back for all the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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