Marion County Circuit Court Judge David Leith has ruled that the Oregon Lottery must turn over the entire contract it signed last year with SBTech, the Malta-based contractor it hired to create and manage Scoreboard, the agency's new sports betting app.
"Public contracts are a matter of significant public interest," Leith wrote in a Feb. 28 decision. "That interest is heightened where the contract relates to an emerging market for gambling."
In 2019, the Lottery chose SBTech to build the Scoreboard app as the agency rushed to enter the sports betting business. As WW and The Oregonian have reported, the agency's hasty procurement process raised a number of questions, including how the betting revenues would be split between SBTech and the state.
In response to a public records request for the contract with SBTech, the Lottery turned over part of the document but withheld a section that described how SBTech's compensation would be calculated. The Oregonian asked the Oregon Department of Justice, which polices state agencies' adherence to Oregon's Public Records Law to weigh in. DOJ told the Lottery it must turn over the whole contract. But in January, SBTech sued to stop that from happening.
Leith's ruling comes in response to SBTech's lawsuit. The judge noted in his explanation of his decision that the Lottery's unexpected losses on sports betting—first reported by WW last week—strengthen the rationale for disclosing how SBTech's compensation is calculated.
"The legitimate public interest is further heightened by the initial deficits Lottery has thus far experienced under the contract," Leith wrote.
SBTech now has 30 days to decide whether to appeal Leith's ruling.