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Oregon Poker – Gambling Laws

OregonOregon is one of the few states that has actually made a stance when it comes to internet gambling. They have modified their laws to address gambling online. They have some stiff penalties for gambling operations that accept payments over the internet. However, we did not find any penalties for the individual gamblers.

Can Players From Oregon Play Poker Online?

Yes! The laws in Oregon have not deterred very many online poker sites. We don’t know of any sites that accept US players that have pulled out of Oregon. This means that players from Oregon can play on any of the US-facing poker websites to play for real money online.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Oregon?

Laws are very complicated, and we are definitely not an authority on the laws of Oregon or any other state. We do know that Oregon has addressed operators of online poker sites. We have not found any laws that address the individual players that are playing online poker in Oregon, but this does not mean that they do not exist.

We have an overview of some of the Oregon laws that we found in our research that pertain to gambling in Oregon below:

  • Oregon law addresses internet gambling by saying A person engaged in an Internet gambling business may not knowingly accept payments (Section 167.109)
  • The law goes on further to say that accepting payments for internet gambling is a Class C felony.
  • Oregon defines gambling as Gambling means that a person stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the control or influence of the person, upon an agreement or understanding that the person or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome. (Section 167.117)
  • A person commits the crime of unlawful gambling in the second degree if the person knowingly Participates or engages in unlawful gambling as a player This is a Class A misdemeanor. (Section 167.122)
  • Playing poker online could fall under the gambling in the second degree category.
  • We have found no instance where a player has been charged for playing poker online.
  • Home poker games seem to be legal as long as no person charges a fee or takes rake to play the game. [1]

We do not know if it is legal to play poker online in Oregon or not. If you are interested in playing poker online in Oregon and you are concerned with the legality, then we suggest that you contact an attorney.

Oregon Gambling History

Gambling was prevalent in Oregon in the 1800s. Saloons were common and there was plenty of gambling going on in the saloons. Along with saloons, gambling houses were wide spread across the state. The gambling was technically illegal, but law makers turned a blind eye to it. There was no real enforcement until 1922 when law enforcement started cracking down on these illegal organizations.

Horse racing and greyhound racing have been a popular pastime for the people of Oregon for many years. Portland Meadows has been offering Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing since 1946. Pari-mutuel betting on the races has become a part of life in Oregon. Oregon was the first state to authorize betting hubs in 1997 which enabled electronic wagers on horse and dog races nationwide.

Casino nights were legalized in 1971. This enabled nonprofit organizations to hold events for fundraising. These events include blackjack, roulette, and craps. The voters of Oregon voted to expand the nonprofit fundraising in 1976. Nonprofit organizations are now able to have bingo halls, raffles, and Texas Hold’em games to bring in money for their cause.

Social gaming in Oregon is left up to the cities and counties. It is legal in some areas of Oregon and illegal in others. In order to be considered social gaming the businesses and private clubs holding the events can’t take a rake from the games. Businesses must file for a license to be able to have social games. These businesses make their money by charging a cover fee and selling food and drinks during the games. Poker clubs have become very popular in the cities that have legalized social gambling.

In 1984, 66% of the voters approved a state lottery for Oregon. The lottery launched in 1985. Instant scratch off tickets along with a weekly ticket for the lottery drawing were initially sold. The lottery was a huge hit in Oregon, and they quickly started expanding to sell more games. Sports Action was added in 1989. Players would be on the outcome of NFL football games. This game was eventually deemed illegal by Congress.

Legalizing the lottery in Oregon brought on a whole new round of illegal gambling. Video poker machines started popping up in the bars and restaurants around the state. Video poker machines were technically legal as long as they were for amusement purposes only, but people were actually being paid their winnings on these machines. Oregon was having a hard time controlling this new wave of illegal gambling so the lottery moved forward with video machines so that the state could tap into the huge stream of revenue these machines were taking in.

Oregon has a huge presence of Native American tribes with 9 recognized tribes in the state. The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act opened up a new realm of opportunities to these tribes. The tribes did not act on this immediately, though. They were a little nervous about the battles they would have with the state government if they decided to move forward with casino gambling. A couple of the tribes did offer bingo games, but that was it until 1993.

A compact was negotiated between the Cow Creek band and the state to allow video poker and blackjack games to be added to the current bingo hall. After this many tribes started pushing for their rights to open casinos, but they ran into a lot of opposition. By 1996, all of the tribes had successfully negotiated compacts with the state and began opening casinos around the state. [2]

Legalized Gambling Options in Oregon

Oregon actually has a wide array of legalized gambling options. If you are looking to play poker then you are in luck in Oregon. There are several social poker games, and poker is offered at the casinos. You can also bet on the horse races and dog races, play the lottery, and bingo. The casinos offer a wide variety of games like video poker, slots, and table games. So, you can pretty much find a legal venue for any type of gambling you would like to do in Oregon.

Will Oregon Legalize Online Poker in the Future?

At this point it is not very likely that Oregon will move forward to legalize online poker on their own. It is unclear what Oregon will choose to do if there is a federal mandate to legalize online poker. Oregon is one of the states that is really hard to judge so we will just have to wait and see what happens.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ Oregon Gambling Statutes
  2. Jump up ^ Oregon Gambling History
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