The U.S. Supreme Court gave the green light on sports betting Monday, clearing the way for states to legalize it.
While it’s too early to tell when sports betting may become legalized in Oregon, the ruling has some spots like the Jockey Club at Rialto in downtown Portland interested.
“Oh I know it’s gonna be fun,” George Lee, a frequent bettor there, said. “I’m really quite a sports fan. I love, practically, all kinds of sports.”
Lee tells FOX 12 it’ll only add to the excitement of his weekly trips to the Jockey Club.
“I got, well, what they call ‘hooked’ on it!” he said.
A Jockey Club bartender says generating new customers is always a challenge.
“What this place is already, an off-track betting parlor, it’s always been an older man’s kind of game," Josh Lubin said. "And hopefully, we can open up to the younger crowd."
Oregon Lottery’s Chuck Baumann agrees. The legalization of sports betting in Oregon, he says, wouldn’t require current players to play or wager more.
“The beauty of being able to add new games is that we can attract new players," Baumann said. "We generate new funds. That’s good for the state. It means more revenue for lottery dollar beneficiaries like state parks and that sort of thing."
However, professional sports leagues say they worry about the game’s integrity. The NFL released a statement Monday:
"The NFL's long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute. Congress has long recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events. Given that history, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting. We also will work closely with our clubs to ensure that any state efforts that move forward in the meantime protect our fans and the integrity of our game."
The National Council on Problem Gambling also weighed in:
“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is the largest potential expansion of gambling in our nation’s history now that an additional 49 states have the opportunity to legalize sports betting. NCPG believes the expansion of legalized sports gambling in the United States will likely increase gambling participation and gambling problems unless steps are taken to minimize harm,” Marlene Warner, President of the NCPG Board of Directors, says.
Employees at the Jockey Club say they’re open to sports gambling again, a form of wagering that’s been absent from betting parlors in Oregon for 11 years.
“Shouldn’t fear new things," Lubin said. "I don’t know how it would work, but anything that would get more people in the door."
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