Summer Splash: Oregon Lottery Sees Sports Betting Handle Increase In June

Posted on August 6, 2020 - Last Updated on August 24, 2020

While June 2020 didn’t boast its usual complement of sporting events, Oregonians made do with what they had. June sports betting handle reflects that.

According to the Oregon Lottery, total wagers surpassed $7.9 million during the month, an increase of about 7.6% from May. The single biggest contributor? Table tennis.

Ping pong lifts Oregon June sports betting handle

There’s no doubt that table tennis was the sport of choice for Oregon bettors in June. Over $2.8 million, or about 35.4%, belonged to those events.

Soccer matches, like Bundesliga and the English Premier League, also played a significant role. Oregonians staked over $1.9 million in that category.

MMA bouts, like UFC events, accounted for another million dollars. Perhaps even more interesting, however, is the amount of live wagers the Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard app saw in June.

About $4.5 million, or nearly 57% of the total, was handle on in-game bets. That could be another sign of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting bettors.

One of the advantages of placing live bets instead of futures or pregame markets is that bettors don’t have to worry about the cancellation or postponements of games. Additionally, there’s no concern about athletes opting out of competitions or testing positive for the virus, which could greatly affect futures and pregame odds.

Regardless of bettors’ motivation, the jump from $7.3 million in handle in May is a welcome one for the OR Lottery. June’s handle translated to $777,903 in win for the lottery, a month-over-month jump of 23.2%.

That revenue bump is the best news for the lottery. It came at a crucial time. Other products simply haven’t fared as well as the pandemic rages.

OR lottery ticket sales plummet but sports betting could help out

So far in 2020, sales of lottery tickets have disappointed in the Beaver State. In April, for example, instant win and scratch-off games sales dropped 90% in a year-over-year comparison.

The cavalry has arrived, so to speak, however. For most of July, domestic soccer returned for OR bettors. Portland Thorns FC and the Portland Timbers were back on the pitch.

The Portland Trail Blazers got back on the court at the end of July as well.

Coupled with the start of the MLB regular season and the NHL playoffs, July’s numbers could very well represent the single largest month-over-month increase in handle yet.

It may not be fair for the state to expect wagering on domestic sporting events to heal all the wounds, however. Even if monthly revenue tops $1 million or perhaps even $2 million during the coming NFL season (provided the games takes place), that won’t cover a projected $2.7 billion budget deficit.

Still, the revenue is welcome and could mean the difference in saving a few state agencies and programs. If Scoreboard’s June payout percentage of over 90% of handle stays consistent, OR bettors could help themselves out as well over the coming months.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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