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Oregon Casino and Card Room Gaming

Oregon permits the operation of video lottery terminals (VLTs) at horse tracks, retail locations, bars, taverns and restaurants. Social gaming is also allowed in private clubs or businesses in locations that have passed an ordinance allowing social gaming. Social games conducted in private residences are permissible.

Social gaming was first allowed in Oregon in 1973, with local governments able to opt out within their own jurisdiction. In 1984, the city of Portland allowed social gaming. There are several card rooms in operation around Portland. Social games or card rooms are allowed in Oregon because they are considered a game of skill rather than a game of chance and all monies are returned to the players in the form of prizes. The house cannot profit from the operation of a game.

The legislature legalized VLTs in 1991 at bars, taverns and restaurants as a way to eliminate the approximately 10,000 video slot and video poker machines being used for illegal gambling in Oregon and to create additional earnings for the state. In 1992, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the VLTs law. In 1992, poker-based games on the VLTs began operating. In May 2005, line games on lottery terminals or video slots machines were introduced. In September 2003, Oregon Statutes were amended to allow up to six VLTs at each location and a maximum of 10 for racing facilities; the previous limit was five for all locations.

The Springfield City Council voted in August 2005 to allow businesses to host tournament-style poker.

In June 2007, the Senate approved legislation to allow residents of Wood Village the right to vote on a proposed casino planned for the city. The measure was signed into law by the governor at the end of the same month. Bruce Studer and Matthew Rossman hoped to open Oregon's first privately owned casino. Prospective owners gathered the necessary number of signatures to get the casino initiative on a ballot to be voted on by the general public. In 2010, voters rejected a referendum to build a privately owned casino in east Multnomah County. In 2012, voters rejected, by a wide margin, legalizing commercial resort casinos in the state.

In March 2013, Rep. Julie Parish (R - West Linn) introduced HB3518, an amendment to current Oregon laws, authorizing poker to be played legally for religious, charitable and fraternal organizations, thus putting the card rooms out of business. Parish claimed poker rooms were hard to control legally and were not following the laws as intended. The following month, the bill died.

Also in 2013, the Oregon Lottery signed a deal with IGT to replace 1,500 of the 12,000 VLTs with new ones from IGT in 2014.

In May 2017, a new law was passed requiring social poker games to be operated only by charitable, fraternal or religious organizations. It has the potential to shut down many poker rooms that generate revenue through door charges and food and drink sales and aren't affiliated with a qualifying organization.

Although regulated by the Oregon Lottery Commission, Casino City considers VLTs to be a casino and card room gaming activity.
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