LSB Interview: Jack McGrail Of ORC Talks Oregon Sports Betting Bill

  • Oregon has a new bill filed by the Oregon Legislature to open up the sports betting market in the state outside of just the Oregon Lottery.
  • ADWs in the state would be eligible to open sportsbooks under House Bill 2127 and the Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) would be named as the regulator of these sportsbooks.
  • Jack McGrail, the Executive Director of the ORC spoke to LegalSportsBetting about what OR HB 2127 is really about.

SALEM, Ore. – Governor Kate Brown has backed a proposal to expand Oregon sports betting business through a new piece of legislation.

House Bill 2127 would allow the ADWs in the state to open sportsbooks, giving Oregonian sports bettors a number of options to gamble on sports instead of just through the Scoreboard app with the lottery.

Under the proposal, the Oregon Racing Commission would regulate these new sportsbooks. Jack McGrail, the Executive Director of the Oregon Racing Commission spoke with LegalSportsBetting about the purpose of the bill.

What Is House Bill 2127 All About?

An incorrect interpretation of the legislation is that the Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) wants to or even requested to take the reins over the sports betting industry of Oregon. It was never the intent for the ORC to be the exclusive provider of sports wagering in Oregon which is not what this current legislation intends to accomplish should it receive passage.

“The sports gaming market in the state is very limited and the legislation was created to open up the market by authorizing the Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW) companies to offer sports betting on their platforms to the residents of Oregon. This would not preclude, prohibit, or infringe in any way on the lottery’s efforts with their Scoreboard application or within the sports gaming market of the state in general which we applaud them for,” said McGrail.

Based on other news outlets, some people are under the assumption that the ORC is looking to go up against the lottery which is not the case. They wouldn’t be working with the lottery at all. Their job and what the lottery does with Scoreboard are completely different.

“This bill is not at all set to be a direct, competitive product that we would be putting out there against what the lottery has already established for the market. The Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) would simply act as the regulator to the ADWs for their sports wagering endeavors. All odds, wagers, and anything having to do with gambling on the games would be provided by the operators used by the ADWs and would have nothing to do with the business of the ORC, who’s only job is to oversee the regulating aspect,” said McGrail.

The ORC would have no say over the Scoreboard application as it’s the Oregon Lottery’s sportsbook.

They will continue to regulate and control this app because it is theirs to do so and the ORC has less than zero interest in regulating anything having to do with the lottery because they have their own rules and people in place that have done a great job with their sports wagering platform, per McGrail.

The Governor’s Office supported this legislation to be filed as it has for the purposes of benefitting the ADW licensees in their quest to offer sports betting and for no other reason.

“The main purpose of House Bill 2127 is to get ADW licensees to be able to operate sportsbooks in Oregon. And the ORC would regulate it. Plain and simple. All other details like fees, caps on licenses, and official tax rates will be discussed when hearings begin,” said McGrail. “But it’s really just about ADWs having the ability to give their customers the option to gamble on sporting events that are happening if they’d like to do so. However, they would need a regulatory body for this to occur and that’s why the ORC is involved because OR HB 2127 names us as the regulator of this particular part of the sports betting industry should it become law.”

Through this bill, Oregon residents would be provided with more than one option for gambling on sporting events. It’s about creating a larger market for the sports bettor and the potential for profit to the economy of the state.

The lottery will continue to have Scoreboard and the ORC would regulate any of the ADWs that chose to open a sports betting platform. This is an expansion to the sports betting industry of Oregon, not a takeover of any kind.

What’s Next For Sports Betting In Oregon?

Opening up the market through OR HB 2127 would better serve the community and give ADWs the chance to profit from the industry they have not been allowed to enter thus far. As far as profits, are concerned for the state, an uptick is expected.

The tax revenue analysis the ORC ran suggested that passage of the bill would cause a surge in revenue for the sports wagering industry of Oregon but no definitive numbers could be assessed because there is not yet enough information to go on.

McGrail wants the people of Oregon to know that if the bill becomes law that the ORC is more than prepared to handle their new duties for the Oregon sports betting market.

“It cannot be said enough that we are confident in our abilities at the ORC to be a regulator of legal sports betting through ADWs because we already regulate other aspects of the gaming industry like that of horse racing,” said McGrail. “We would be implementing the same tools to oversee sportsbook companies and ensure operators abide by the rules and regulations set forth to operate above board within the sports wagering industry of Oregon. We will not have our hand in anything related to the gambling itself as we are not in the business of making betting lines or anything of that nature.”

“We at the ORC feel that we have the oversight, responsibility, and expertise to oversee the activities of gambling on sports matchups as it would be no different than what we already do every day in the robust environment we provide to our ADWs and the licensees of horse race betting or dog racing in the state of Oregon.”

The Oregon Legislature could be delayed in convening for the 2021 session due to violet protests taking place at this time. The session was slated to begin on January 19. With sports betting already a legal market in the state, an expansion of the industry is less of a stretch as far as approvals are concerned. And with Governor Kate Brown’s office behind this proposal, Oregon could be seeing more sportsbooks in 2021.

News tags: ADW | House Bill 2127 | Jack McGrail | Kate Brown | OR HB 2127 | ORC | Oregon | Oregon Legislature | Oregon Lottery | Oregon Racing Commission

Christina Monroe

Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.

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