Over 800 App Store ratings of the Scoreboard sports betting app, which was powered by SBTech and the Oregon Lottery, garnered an average rating of 1.6 out of 5. By contrast, DraftKings’ sportsbook app has an average rating of 4.8 across over 340,000 ratings.
Recreational bettors often like the easy-to-use interface and promotions offered by DraftKings. Reviews for the Scoreboard app weren’t positive, with some users ripping the platform’s clunky deposit and withdrawal options. Early financial numbers also painted a worrisome picture.
Fortunately for the Oregon Lottery, DraftKings’ acquisition of SBTech created a well-timed opportunity for change.
“That presented us with an opportunity to leverage the DraftKings platform, and because DraftKings owns SBTech, they have an interest in letting us cancel that contract and enter into a new one with DraftKings, which ultimately is what happened,” said Matt Shelby, chief communications and engagement officer with the Oregon Lottery.
Hence, in January, DraftKings became the lone legal mobile sports betting operator in the state.
Switching to DraftKings
The switch to DraftKings benefited Oregon sports bettors and lottery staff alike. With the Scoreboard app, the lottery, SBTech, and a third-party financial platform were all involved. But with the current setup, DraftKings handles most of the work.
For customers, DraftKings provides a user-friendly platform through a well-known brand.
FINALLY. Oregon Scoreboard was a joke that had CONSTANT issues lack of betting options. https://t.co/0jUtTldFY7
— Todd Falconer (@West_Coast22) January 12, 2022
“For us, it was beneficial on a couple of levels,” Shelby said. “For one, the user experience is just better on the DraftKings platform. They do this for a living. Less visible but just as important to us was it was also a much more streamlined arrangement because DraftKings handles the player account, the money. They already have the integrity fees and the data feeds with all the leagues.”
Oregon Lottery officials and bettors each seem happy with the change.
“It’s been good for us, and it’s been good for our players,” Shelby said. “At the end of the day, that’s what you care about.”
D.C. council mulling change
Washington, D.C., which awarded a controversial, sole-source sports betting contract to Intralot, has been considering moving away from its GambetDC product. This could mean opening up the market to major national operators like BetMGM, Caesars, or FanDuel.
“They’re, I think, beginning to realize that they’ve maybe not appropriately assessed the best way to deliver sports wagering,” said Becky Harris, a distinguished fellow in gaming and leadership with the UNLV International Gaming Institute.
Harris stressed that jurisdictions legalizing mobile sports wagering do so for a couple of reasons. First, there’s a desire to move sports bettors away from unregulated, black market platforms. Secondly, there’s a desire to bring in tax revenue. Regulated offerings often deliver on the first piece of that equation, but some jurisdictions might find that what they’ve legalized is an inefficient method to generate tax revenue.
“I think that it’s that revenue piece that causes states to reassess,” Harris said.
That’s the truth for D.C., as council members are mulling possible changes, largely due to slashed revenue projections. There’s debate among D.C. Lottery officials about whether allowing major national operators access into the mobile betting market – BetMGM, Caesars, and FanDuel have retail sportsbooks in the District – would actually raise tax revenue totals.
A couple Washington D.C. council members want to allow sports betting operators other than GambetDC access to the D.C. mobile sports wagering market. The council chairman and the lottery aren’t so sure change is needed. https://t.co/LXAWtuVHMC
— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) July 20, 2022
When it comes to a jurisdiction altering its sports betting plans, tax revenue is a key component. When coupled with a subpar user experience, there’s even more reason to make a shift.
That doesn’t guarantee an impending change, however, and each jurisdiction is different. DraftKings isn’t on the verge of acquiring Intralot, so the D.C. Council and Lottery don’t have a convenient alternative. Change could come, though, and Oregon’s situation may provide a small bit of guidance on the potential benefits of allowing major operators more access.