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Judge rules SBTech-Oregon Lottery contract must be disclosed


A Circuit Court judge in Oregon has ruled that SBTech must disclose the terms of its contract with the state’s lottery to provide sports betting in the state.

In May 2019, the Oregon State Lottery and SBTech agreed a contract that saw the supplier’s technology used to power the state’s Scoreboard-branded mobile and retail sportsbook offering. However, the contract released redacted a section titled “Exhibit 4,” which contains definitions and formulas including how the share of betting revenue is split between the two parties.

Catena Media-owned Legal Sports Report and newspaper The Oregonian issued a public records request for the details of the entire contract, which was initially accepted by the state’s Attorney General on 3 January. However, SBTech filed a lawsuit to prevent their release, arguing that the redacted portion includes trade secrets, was a confidential submission and its release was not in the public interest.

In this case,  Judge David E. Leith ruled that “disclosure without redaction of the full contract… is required by Oregon law”.

Judge Leith rejected the claim “that the effective terms of this public contract, negotiated at arms’ length, constitute a trade secret”. He added that the court was “unpersuaded” that pricing formulas remain confidential once they form part of such a contract negotiation.

In addition, Judge Leith said the release of the terms of the contract would be in the public interest.

“Public contracts are a matter of significant public interest,” Leith said. “The public interest is heightened where the contract relates to an emerging market for gambling.”

SBTech may appeal the ruling within the next 30 days. The portions of the contract in question will remain private until either the result of the appeal or until the appeals window passes without one being filed.

Last week, the Oregon Lottery announced that its sportsbook is set to lose more than $5m for the first nine months of the state’s fiscal year, according to financial projections developed following a board meeting in January.

The group expects Scoreboard’s gross receipts to total $178.3m for the year to 30 June 2020, with gross gaming revenue of $10.8m to be left after customer winnings of $167.5m. Figures released in June last year suggested that the year one revenue would come in at $26.6m.

Scoreboard was launched in Octobera month later than anticipated – meaning it missed the opening weeks of the National Football League (NFL) season.

The roll-out of retail betting kiosks was due to begin in January, though the lottery is yet to provide any update on when this will actually begin.