The Oregon Lottery Says Collegiate Sports Gambling Would Help Make Up for Losses

The way to make back money lost in sports betting? More sports betting!

The Big Number: $5.3 million.

That's how much the Oregon Lottery expects to lose in the first nine months of operation of its new mobile sports-betting app, Scoreboard. The projected loss is a different story from the projections the lottery made to lawmakers last June, when the agency said it expected to net a $6.3 million profit in Scoreboard's first year.

The loss matters, not only because the lottery is the state's second-biggest source of revenue after personal income taxes but because Scoreboard proceeds are specifically dedicated to helping pay down the state's $25 billion unfunded public pension liability.

Lottery spokesman Matt Shelby says Scoreboard encountered higher startup costs and more competition than expected and is hamstrung by lawmakers' opposition to betting on college sports. "The ability to offer collegiate wagering would speed our progress toward profitability—increasing revenue with very little additional expense," Shelby says. "But there doesn't seem to be much appetite for that in the Legislature."