The Chinook Winds Casino Sports Wagering Lounge is officially open for business in Lincoln City, Oregon. The move comes as the Oregon State Lottery plans to launch a new online feature that will take sports betting nationwide, but that won’t be up and running for several more weeks.
The Lounge held a soft opening on Tuesday that featured a special guest to place the inaugural bet. Former Super Bowl champion and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones put down $5 on the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl this upcoming season. Shortly after, the Lounge was open to the public. Betting with Chinook Winds is only available physically at the casino.
The Sports Wagering Lounge has been over a year in the works according to Will Robertson, director of casino operations. They offer wagering opportunities on almost all sports including the upcoming Olympics and the NCAA. Being the first sports wagering location in Oregon, Robertson believes it will set a trend statewide.
“I would have to imagine that there’s a lot of casinos in Oregon that will be looking to add this and us being open now, we’ll help out if we can,” Robertson said, according to The News Guard. “They can look at our groundwork and kind of adjust as they see necessary and at the end of the day I anticipate several other tribes to jump on board and have the offering as well.”
Robertson said they have added five new jobs to fill the needs of the Lounge and the staff has been training everyday for the past two weeks to prepare for opening day. “The hardest part of getting this up and running has been educating ourselves and with any new gaming introduction we’re going to have those hurdles,” Robertson said. “But I can’t say enough about everyone who’s helped get us off the ground.”
The casino is unsure just how big of a draw their Sports Wagering Lounge will have. However, they are predicting that it will bring a lot of positives to the community. “We don’t have any solid numbers and everybody we've talked to in the industry about it says your guess is as good as ours,” Robertson said. “I can say it is going to help the property in ways such as more food and beverage sales, more table games, more slots, more hotel guest, just more trips and more visitors walking through the door. All that leads back to the community, more people coming into the community spending dollars that were getting spent elsewhere.”
Moreover, the Oregon Lottery says it is weeks away from taking sports-betting statewide with its Scoreboard app feature. The feature will allow users to place bets on professional sports —it will not take wagers on college sports— from their phones. Users must be at least 21 years old, and while they don’t have to be an Oregon resident, the do have to be in state, according to lottery officials.
“There are retailers who have sports betting near Washington and people who live in Washington like to be able to come over and play those games, so similar thing with Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard, just drive across the river, come across the border that’s in Ontario, sit down, and have a cold one with the buds and make some wagers,” Chuck Baumann with the Oregon Lottery said.
The Oregon Lottery expects its new app feature to bring in $300 million in its first year. It says most of the money will go to prizes, and five million is expected to transfer to the state.