Oregon is looking likely to become the second state in the US to officially allow punters to place wagers on a variety of virtual sports markets. Of course, this comes as no surprise; ever since the Coronavirus pandemic stopped almost all major sporting events around the world, sportsbooks have suffered tremendously.
Virtual sports betting is already common in many European countries, and New Jersey recently started allowing it too in an attempt to save bookmakers and operators.
The move is being considered by the Oregon State Lottery; its official sportsbook app, Scoreboard, already has a number of partnerships with some of the world’s leading virtual sports providers like Leap Gaming, Inspired Entertainment and Golden Race. Last week, the Oregon State Lottery Commission officially introduced the topic, and if all goes well, virtual sports betting could be approved as soon as June 26th.
It’s Unsure If It Would Be A Temporary Or Permanent Measure
The Oregon State Lottery Commission has been working overtime to look at ways of “rushing” the new measures through in a desperate attempt to boost revenue at a time where US-based punters have virtually no betting options available to them.
The Oregon Lottery sent out a temporary administrative order, which detailed the urgency surrounding changes to the state’s rules to allow virtual sports betting.
The order read:
“The Lottery could offer bets on virtual sporting events, which are computer simulations of real-life sporting events in which winners are determined by a random number generator. The availability of such games could keep Scoreboard players engaged and entertained during the public health emergency and help the Lottery raise revenue for public programs, but the current Scoreboard rules do not envision virtual sporting events. Therefore, the rules need to be amended to define virtual sporting events, explain how winners are determined, and explain how Lottery will ensure game integrity in virtual sporting events.”
Will Virtual Sports Betting Become A Reality In Oregon?
As of now, it’s looking likely. Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, the Scoreboard sportsbook wasn’t making anywhere near as much money as initial estimates had predicted, and management has been constantly looking at ways to boost revenue. Of course, this is now more relevant than ever, and with no clear date for when sporting events will start again, it’s no surprise they’re looking at alternative measures to generate revenue.
The bigger question though, is whether US punters themselves will actually want to bet on virtual sports markets. In Europe, it’s common to see virtual football and virtual horse racing; both in betting shops and at online sportsbooks. However, it’s “known” that – the majority of US bettors will be unfamiliar with the concept, and there are concerns that some will shy away from placing bets on virtual events due to concerns over whether the events are truly random or not.
In reality, there is nothing to worry about – the company’s who would be providing the virtual games are well-established and have all their games certified. Still, it’s an interesting train of thought, and it remains to be seen as to whether or not virtual sports will catch on in the US or not – if allowed at all.