Oregonians bet on table tennis during pandemic, lottery revenue ticks upward

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) - With the NBA set to start games at the end of the month, the Oregon Lottery is hoping it will get a boost to lost revenue since the pandemic began. Lottery funds have taken a hit over the last few months but are starting to see a rebound.

When bars and restaurants were closed, video lottery machines were turned off, taking away a big source of revenue for Oregon Lottery.

Live sports were also cancelled, leaving few things for people to bet on through the state’s Scoreboard app, which launched last fall.

Over the last month, Oregon counties have begun to slowly reopen, and some video lottery machines have been turned back on. The Oregon Lottery says that came sooner than expected.

Matt Shelby with the Oregon Lottery says they are down about 15 percent overall, but have seen improvements over the last few weeks.

“Over the last two weeks, we are only down about 9 percent over the same two week period last year, so players are coming back to the degree that they can,” Shelby said.

He adds they are doing better than a state forecast in June that said lottery could see a 23 percent drop in revenue due to the pandemic in the 2019-2021 biennium.

When it comes to the Oregon Scoreboard app, there was a decrease in bets, as live sporting events were canceled. According to Oregon Lottery data, only $4.4 million was wagered through their app in April, compared to $21.1 million in January. But there is improvement, as wagers in May were nearly double that of the previous month.

Most of the bets can be attributed to Oregonians betting on table tennis. Stats from the Scoreboard App show it was the number one sport people were betting on in April and May. In April, nearly 90,000 bets were made, wagering nearly $3.3 million. That accounted for two thirds of the wagers and made 3/4 of all money wagered. In May, Oregonians increased the amount they were betting, making nearly 77,000 bets and wagering more than $3.7 million.

The Oregon Lottery says the number one sport people bet on is basketball, which has seen $53 million wagered since Jan. 1.

“Eagerly awaiting the NBA to return at least in some form or fashion,” Shelby said. The Blazers are by far the most popular thing that players wager on here in Oregon.”

The NBA is set to return on July 30. Major League Soccer will resume on July 8.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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