The path Oregon follows as a state often mirrors that of its neighbor to the north – Washington. The Pacific Northwest states share a similar ethos – laid-back and free. With regard to gambling, Oregon’s laws and acceptance have grown in a rather organic way – moving from low-key social games to the situation today.
Oregon’s stance on online gambling mirrors that of many states. There are no specific prohibitions against playing over the internet. However, it is illegal for the operators themselves to accept wagers. Therefore, gambling on the internet in Oregon is the same legally hazy proposition it is in many states. Therefore, it is not recommended. The only exception to this rule is betting on horse racing, which is allowed online in Oregon.
At this point, there doesn’t seem to be any movement in the legislature toward legalizing any kind of wagering beyond the pari-mutuel exception. Furthermore, the recent rejection of placing commercial casinos in the state does not bode well for the development of online options.
However, there is some variation in the pari-mutuel offerings. Games like Racing Roulette and 1 2 3 Pick N Pools suggest a possible route for online development, akin to allowing gambling to occur under the heading of lottery in other states.
The Oregon Lottery and sports betting
The mobile app for the Oregon Lottery went live on Sept. 11. iOS users can now purchase the app in the Apple Store.
This launch is a soft launch, however. Users who download the app right now will probably see changes and adjustments as time goes on.
Android users won’t be able to use the app until November 2018. The lottery commission is also planning a marketing campaign to run concurrently with the hard launch.
More app features will unroll in the near future. For now, users can check if they won or lost on various games including scratch-offs, draw games and Keno.
Lottery officials are in the process of programming the app to work with sports betting. However, according to multiple sources, sports betting will probably not come to Oregon until fall 2019.
Social casino options
Social casino options in Oregon are typical. Slotomania, Double Down Casino, Big Fish, and Zynga are available through Facebook and mobile devices to residents and visitors. Unfortunately, none of the tribal casino properties in the state offer any kind of mobile or social gaming tied to their properties or affiliated with a larger site.
Oregonians can also participate in MyVegas. This is MGM’s free comps app that players can use to generate loyalty points. These can then be redeemed for actual comps at participating properties. None of the redeeming properties are particularly close to Oregon. It does, however, remain an option for those who want to make the two-hour flight or 15-hour drive to Las Vegas.
State casino operator history
Oregon’s first foray into gambling began, as it does in many states, with racing – both horses and dogs. Greyhounds raced at Multnomah Stadium from 1933 to 2004. Races were then discontinued due to lack of interest. However, both live horse racing and OTB options continue in the state.
One of the state’s major gambling offerings began humbly in 1973. The legislature permitted the introduction of licensed poker clubs. The caveat was that no rake could be collected from the pots by the house. As long as the individual localities passed ordinances to allow them within their area, the businesses could open and serve Oregonians. Roughly 15 of these establishments operate in Oregon today. The clubs operate under controversy, in no small part due to their main source of competition.
The primary venues for gambling in Oregon are its nine tribal casinos. Since the passage of the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act of 1988, federally recognized tribes have been able to negotiate compacts with their resident states to allow the construction and operation of various casino properties. The Pacific Northwest is home to many tribes. In fact, neighboring Washington’s largest city, Seattle, is named after one of the tribal chiefs who inhabited the area. Unsurprisingly, many Oregon tribes were able to negotiate with the state.
The number of casinos in Oregon has stayed at or near nine since the IGRA was passed. Other tribes (like the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) have had casinos in the past, but some have closed and others have taken their place.
Land-based casino options in Oregon
The result is the nine casinos that operate today. Almost every casino is operated by a separate tribe. The one exception is the Three Rivers casinos in Florence and Coos Bay. These are owned by the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians of Oregon. These casinos are able to offer almost any type of gambling to patrons. However, the slot machines are technically video lottery terminals. These are almost indistinguishable from actual slot machines, but they pool their proceeds in a manner specific to the state lottery and are thus considered legal extensions of that offering.
The biggest hurdle for all tribal casinos in Oregon is geographic in nature. Oregon’s largest city, Portland, is in the extreme northern part of the state. It is located far from any Oregon reservation lands. This means Portland residents are less inclined to frequent these establishments. The nearest Oregon casino to Portland is Chinook Winds, which is over two hours away.
Land-based casino options in nearby Washington
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that Portland also sits near the Columbia River, which is Oregon’s border with Washington. As such, the nearest casino to Portland is actually The Last Frontier Casino in La Center, Washington. It’s a mere 26 miles from the city center. Even UBET, another Washington casino, is only an hour away from Oregon’s most populated area.
So far, attempts to build off-reservation casinos in Oregon have failed. Currently, no tribe or entity is pursuing the matter. The last group that did, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, abandoned its efforts to build a resort in the Columbia River Gorge in 2013. However, Portlanders are not suffering from a lack of options for scratching their itch. Remember, legal poker clubs are alive and well in the city, and two casinos are less than an hour away.
|Chinook Winds Casino & Convention Center||Lincoln City||S, K, P, BI, BJ, R, C, UTH, LR, PGP, 3C|
|Indian Head Casino||Warm Springs||S, BJ|
|Kla-Mo-Ya Casino||Chiloquin||S, BJ|
|The Mill Casino Hotel||North Bend||S, BJ, R, C, 3C, PGP, Spanish 21|
|Seven Feathers Casino Resort||Canyonville||S, K, BI, B, BJ, R, C, PGP, UTH, 3C, 4C|
|Spirit Mountain Casino||Grand Ronde||S, K, P, BI, BJ, R, C, PGP, LR, 3C|
|Three Rivers Casino Resort||Florence||S, P, K, BJ, C, R, BI, LR|
|Three Rivers Casino||Coos Bay||S|
|Wildhorse Resort & Casino||Pendleton||S, K, P, BJ, C, R, BI|
*Slots (S), Craps (C), Blackjack (BJ), Roulette (R), Baccarat (B), Poker (P), Mini-Baccarat (MBac), Pai Gow Poker (PGP), Pai Gow Tiles (PGT), Let It Ride (LR), Caribbean Stud Poker (CS), Crazy 4 Poker (C4), 3 Card Poker (3C), 4 Card Poker (4C), Ultimate Texas Hold’em (UTH), High Card Flush (HCF), Mississippi Stud (MS), Texas Hold’em Bonus (THB), Big Six Wheel (B6), Bingo (BI), Keno (K)
Licensed poker clubs
|Black Diamond Poker Room||Albany|
|Beach Poker Club||Eugene|
|Full House Poker||Eugene|
|High Mountain Poker Palace||Eugene|
|Grants Pass Poker Room||Grants Pass|
|Medford Poker Club||Medford|
|Medford Poker Room||Medford|
|Final Table Poker Club||Portland|
|One Good Hand – Brekken’s||Portland|
|One Good Hand – Claudia’s||Portland|
|The Club House||Sutherlin|
State legal environment
|Permitted/Offered?||Notes & Restrictions|
|Land-Based Gambling||Yes||Poker clubs and tribal casinos only|
|Charitable or House-Based Gambling||Yes|
|Minimum Gambling Age||18 for pari-mutuel, 21 for casinos/poker|