Oregon Lottery’s New App Takes Bets Up to $250,000

The Oregon Lottery is releasing a smartphone app to facilitate gambling on professional sports, potentially as soon as next week. The app, entitled “Scoreboard,” will allow both bets on the outcome of a match, as well as “in-game” betting. Up to $250,000 may be deposited in the app for wagers, with no limit on the amount of bets placed.

“Theoretically, if someone had the means to deposit a quarter-million dollars into their player account, they could wager it,” says lottery spokesman Matt Shelby. However, he also says that “the lottery is not required to take all wagers” and that “The max wager the lottery will accept on any event will depend on the sport, odds and the lottery’s overall risk tolerance.”

However, Willamette Week reports critics are worried about the app’s potential effects on gambling addicts. Phillip Yassenoff, a gambling treatment specialist, says the app’s high deposit ceiling “seems to be contrary to [the Oregon Lottery’s] prior message of responsible gambling and the idea that gambling should be recreational. Likewise, former addict Kitty Martz  says that “Financial barriers and eliminating opportunities to gamble are our first lines of defense. A high betting limit with easy accessibility is going to create a whole new demographic of addiction.”

According to Governor Brown’s office, the app will feature “responsible gambling safeguards,” such as viewable gambling histories and pop-up messages to high-risk players. Shelby further elaborates: “We believe informed players make more responsible choices about their play. While not required, players may also establish a loss limit. If a player determines they can’t responsibly have access to Scoreboard, we offer timeouts and self-exclusion.”

While testifying to a House committee last month, Shelby said the lottery “want[s] lots of people playing a little. We believe sports betting will attract a different type of player that isn’t playing our games, so it will allow us to increase revenues without asking current players to play or wager more.”

By Brandon Urey