Oregon Online Poker / Gambling Laws
Last Updated November 17, 2018
Oregon has no shortage of colorful online poker pros who call the state home. In fact, the entire Northwest region has been something of an online poker hotspot over the last decade, with big name after big name emerging from Oregon and neighboring states to claim some of poker’s biggest titles. We get readers every day who want to know how they can add their name to that list, and while we can’t make you a better poker player, we can dramatically simplify the process of getting your online poker career started with this Oregon Poker Players Guide to Real-Money Games Online.
Current Updates for Oregon’s Poker & Gambling Laws
Poker entrepreneurs in Oregon have figured out a way to offer live poker. Under the law that allows social gaming, poker rooms have appeared throughout the state. Without charging rake or tournament fees, the owners assert that they are not operating for-profit rooms, only charging door fees and making money from food and drink orders in order to stay in business.
One such poker room operates at the Portland Meadows racetrack. But the Oregon Lottery has been threatening to remove its 10 video lottery terminals from the track if the poker room is not closed. It knows that the racetrack makes $350,000 on commission from the machines’ revenue, so it began threatening to remove the machines in early 2017.
Portland Meadows’ attorney repeatedly asserted that the poker room complied with state laws. The case went on until May 2018, when Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack delivered a final ruling in the matter. By way of undercover research, the Lottery determined players exchange money for chips, which means the poker room acts as a bank, which violates the law. In addition, the door fee serves as income, which is a violation of the lease for the machines.
As of June 2018, 2018, Portland Meadows is considering taking the case to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
Facts About Online Poker in Oregon
“Best” is obviously a subjective term, but we do our darndest as reviewers to come as close to objectivity as possible when evaluating online poker sites open to players from Oregon. There are some elements of an online poker that can be quantified – traffic, promotions, rake – and we definitely consider all of those. There are also more amorphous qualities – reputation, game softness and support – that we grade as rigidly as possible in our overall review.
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Is Online Poker Legal in Oregon?
Playing at real-money online poker sites in Oregon is about as uncomplicated as any other online commercial transaction. As you know, there are particular sites (listed above) that we strongly suggest you try first, but the list of Oregon-friendly online poker rooms doesn’t cover all of the sites that welcome players from Oregon.
As for depositing at an online poker room, Oregon players will find a variety of available methods, with major credit cards and cash transfers serving as the two most commonly used options.
Oregon Law and Online Gambling / Poker
It’s important for you to understand that legal advice cannot – and should not – come from a site like ours. If you’ve seen sites that declare online poker to be “100% legal” or similar claims, then you’ve come across sources that simply aren’t being honest with you.
The honest answer is that gambling law, especially as it applies to gambling online, is a complicated subject best left to the specialists. What we try to do is provide a basic snapshot of a state’s laws and then point you in the direction of additional resources that can further your research. Ultimately, any research about the legality of an action should end with a consultation involving a lawyer, preferably one with experience in the gambling law arena.
Here are some basic aspects of Oregon gambling laws that poker players should be aware of:
Oregon law does directly address online gambling, so let’s start there. Section 167.109:
“Internet gambling,” essentially makes it a felony to accept payments related to “the participation of another person in unlawful gambling using the Internet.”
What the section does not appear to do is criminalize the actions of individual gamblers or poker players. Our non-professional reading of the law can find no mention of players in Section 167.109.
The next logical question poker players have at this point is how Oregon defines gambling. It’s the standard definition employed by multiple state in America – risking a valuable thing on a contest of chance an outcome outside of one’s influence with the expectation that some other valuable thing could be gained (Section 167.117(7)).
Oregon law is more helpful than some in that it actually provides a further definition of what a contest must involve in order to be classified as one of chance. Specifically, it’s when the: “outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance, notwithstanding that skill of the contestants may also be a factor” (Section 167.117(6)).
Social games fall outside the purview of Oregon gambling law, per Section 167.117(7c) (the definition of “gambling”) and Section 167.117(21) (the definition of “social game”).
One last item of note for Oregon gamblers: there is a charge reserved for players in Oregon law. Section 167.122 assigns a misdemeanor charge to anyone who “participates or engages in unlawful gambling as a player.”
The next step: Review the state law of Oregon yourself. You can find a copy of the state statutes online at the link below.
Is Oregon Planning to Regulate Online Poker?
The chances in the status quo seem minimal, although anything is possible when you start talking about state politics. Things generally move at a quicker pace on the state level, so it’s entirely reasonable to argue that Oregon could propose and pass a bill to regulate online poker in relatively short order. Reasonable and likely are two different beasts, however, and as it stands Oregon is heavy on potential and light on concrete progress toward regulating poker played online.
Oregon Gambling Facts
The heart of regulated gambling in Oregon are the state’s double-digit tribal casinos, which offer visitors a selection of gambling options comparable to a Las Vegas or Atlantic City casino. Charitable gambling is also a strong presence in the state, with a wide swath of permitted activities like bingo and casino-style table games. The state lottery and pari-mutuel wagering round out the regulated gambling lineup for Oregon.
Does Oregon Offer any State-Regulated Online Gambling?
While gamblers from Oregon would no doubt prefer to patronize sites that bore the official seal of the state government, that’s simply not possible in the status quo. While there may be some individual online gambling formats that are acceptable under Oregon law, the state does not directly oversee or in any way regulate online gambling.
All Poker and Gambling Laws by State
- June 20th, 2018
Poker in Oregon is in a state of flux. And it may be the Oregon Court of Appeals that decides the fate of more than a dozen live poker rooms across the state. After nearly two years of warring with words and threats, the Oregon Lottery took a stand againstRead Full
- October 3rd, 2017
As in many states in America, laws relating to poker in Oregon are complicated. That makes the situation between Portland Meadows and the Oregon Lottery even more problematic as it pertains to the legality of poker rooms. The yearlong battle is coming to a head at the end of October,Read Full
- June 18th, 2015
The Oregon Lottery is replacing old video lottery machines with new VLMs and the move is causing gambling recovery advocates to protest. The rollout of the state-of-the-art machines promises players the ability to play more games at one time, while betting less money on each of those games. Casual readersRead Full
- January 2nd, 2015
The Oregon Ducks go into the 2015 NCAA National Championship Game as a 7-point favorite, according to Caesars Palace Sportsbook. The Ducks entered the 4-team BCS Playoff as the #2 seed, while OSU entered as the #4 seed. The Ducks are the favorites perhaps due to the youth of theRead Full
Oregon Gambling Resources
Oregon Department of Justice – Charitable Gaming Division. The State DoJ handles charitable gambling in Oregon, and the page for their Charitable Gaming Division highlights the basics regarding compliance and provides a database of licensed operators.
Oregon Casino Initiatives – BallotPedia. Excellent resource for learning more about the history, context and outcome of Oregon’s recently-defeated ballot measure that sought to bring commercial casinos to the state.
Oregon.gov – Problem Gambling Services. State-backed resource for problem gambling information, including extensive literature, training tools and helpline details from the award-winning Oregon Department of Human Services.
Sources & Citations For This Article on Oregon Online Poker
- Oregon Revised Statutes
- State Measures 82 and 83: OregonLive.com
- Oregon Department of Justice - Charitable Gaming in Oregon
- Addictions and Mental Health Services Problem Gambling Services
- Oregon Lottery
- Oregon Problem Gambling Resource
- National Council on Problem Gambling (Oregon)
- Official State Website
- Laws/Code of Oregon
- Oregon Legal Guide
- Oregon State Police – Gaming Division