Oregon Lottery Taking Heat After Scoreboard Sports Betting App Changes Odds
Line changed after bet submitted
The Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard sports betting app is in the midst of a crisis of credibility after sports betting expert Jack Andrews posted a video on Twitter showing a line change after a bet was placed.
In the video, an anonymous professional sports bettor attempted to place a wager on an upcoming NASCAR race, a straight bet on a heads-to-head matchup between drivers Ryan Newman and Matt DiBenedetto. Both racers had lines of -110; the bettor put $550 on Newman to win $1,050.
Upon hitting the “Place Bets” button, the Scoreboard app presented the message, “Your bet is over the max amount – please wait for approval.”
After about 30 seconds, the app told the bettor that the line had changed, offering him new, worse odds on Newman at -150 for a revised possible return of $916.67. The bettor cancelled the wager.
Odds only moved for specific bettor
Of course, sportsbooks can change their lines depending on which side the money is going to, but a $550 bet is not typically going to trigger a line move. Jack Andrews figured his Twitter followers might have been thinking that the bettor could just “fake” a line move with a bet and let other customers take advantage of an improved line on the other racer. But as he showed in a follow-up tweet, the lines stayed the same in the lobby; they only changed for this specific bettor.
“Dealing different lines to only one patron should not be permitted in any legal regulated market,” Andrews said.
He added: “This type of behavior cannot be tolerated if the industry is to have any hope of succeeding in the US.”
Lottery flubs initial response
The Oregon Lottery responded to Andrews’ tweets, saying that the bet required manual approval and that in those 30 seconds, the line changed. But as Andrews showed, the line only changed for the bettor, not for customers site-wide. The Lottery also added that the customer had been contacted and was satisfied with the resolution of the issue.
ESPN’s David Purdum followed up with the customer, who said that he had not, in fact, been contacted by the Lottery.
The Oregonian then got in touch with the Oregon Lottery, extracting a more detailed explanation. Matthew Shelby, a spokesperson for the Lottery, admitted that they had only left voicemail messages for the customer and did not actually speak with him directly. He also noted that they did honor the original odds of -110. He chalked up the incorrect information provided via Twitter to being too quick to reply.
Allowable practice, poor optics
Shelby also told The Oregonian that the Lottery does not have to take all wagers.
“We offer the same odds to all players who wish to place a bet within the limits established for the event,” he said. “If folks want to place a wager above the limit; we may take it, we may pass, or we may take it with different odds. It’s all about our risk tolerance.”
This is not incorrect. The Oregon Lottery and its Scoreboard app are businesses and they can accept or reject bets as they please. The main problem is that the line moved only for this one individual.
The Oregonian probed further, asking if the lines ever move in the bettor’s favor and if so, how frequently. The news outlet did not receive answer, likely because the Lottery’s sportsbook partner, SBTech, has authority over line movements.
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