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The current legal situation of online poker in Oregon is pretty clear. They specifically make it illegal for you to run an online poker room for real money, but they keep players out the discussion. As long as you're not on the business side of things, you should be in the clear.
As of 2014, only operators of online poker sites in Oregon are targeted. Oregon poker players seem to be perfectly safe. Read on to learn more.
Gambling was a part of life in many towns in the early days of Oregon, just as Oregon online poker sites are today. For example, the late 1800s in Portland saw James Lappeus become the town's first police chief, though he owned a gambling house and saloon, and he was accused of a number of severe crimes. With no powerful state government, though, people like Lappeus had few boundaries. He was accused of being a cheating gambler and finally run out of office, but it took several years. In the early 1920s, Chinese gangs were in charge of much of the prostitution, opium dens, and gambling in Portland's Chinatown area. Law enforcement finally raided a gambling establishment in 1922, as well as gambling houses, and stopped much of the gang power at that time.
Q. With all of the online gambling approved for the lottery, will legal online poker follow?
A. Though that would be the logical step, online poker in Oregon would be a very complicated endeavor, one that Oregon is not prepared for. In addition, there is still a notion that the lottery is not a game of chance, while online poker is a chance game, lumped into the same category with other gambling. Until this discrepancy is realized by state legislators, internet poker will not follow the lottery to the Internet.
Q. Does Oregon try to prosecute operators of online poker sites?
A. Most Oregon poker sites are based outside of America, therefore making it very difficult for Oregon to prosecute any of their operators on a state level. The state has chosen to leave the illegal gambling to the federal government for the most part, though it does have the authority to step in and stop those Internet games.
Q. So, players are safe?
A. As mentioned above, players are not to be charged with moving money over the Internet to Oregon online poker companies. The operators are the only ones to be prosecuted.
Q. How do the Indian tribes or Oregon feel about legal online poker sites?
A. Indian tribes may have the logical apprehensive feelings about online gambling, though legal Oregon online poker may be something they could discuss. Their influence will be important should legislators ever broach the idea.
Q. Does Oregon take a stand on federal online gambling?
A. There has been no official word from the state government. Should federal legislation pass, states will likely have an option to opt in or out, depending on the wording of the bill. Oregon may get involved at that point, considering the legwork will be done by federal agencies, and Oregon may simply reap the financial benefits.
In more modern times, issues like online poker in Oregon come into play. First, though, the legalization of gambling began with the state lottery, which voters approved in 1984. Five years later, changes were made to allow people to bet on sports via parlay cards, keno was an option in 1991, and a further amendment in 1992 allowed betting at video lottery terminals located in more than 2,000 bars in Oregon. Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing was also legalized, and later lottery changes in 2005 allowed the lottery to utilize video slot machines for customer betting. While legal Oregon online poker sites might seem to fit into the logical progression, it has yet to happen. And after the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 passed on a federal level, seven Indian tribes negotiated compacts with the state of Oregon to offer bingo and machines. Later changes allowed blackjack games and poker as well.
Poker and other card games, as well as bingo, can be played in bars, restaurants, and clubs if conducted by charitable organizations. This is overseen by the Oregon Department of Justice. Poker is offered at the Indian casinos, but social gambling in homes or outside of legally approved facilities is legal only if there is no rake or profit for the operator. Some local governments have approved social gambling, and those are welcome changes from the overall state laws, which have a bit of an antiquated view on gambling, especially Oregon online poker. To contact legislators about this or other issues, click here: Oregon Legislators.
As for online poker in Oregon, state law prohibits the operation of an online gambling business. The law discusses Internet gambling in that moving money from players to online gambling sites is illegal, though the only ones to be prosecuted for such a crime are the operators who receive the funds. The players are not to be charged. It should be noted that Oregon law also prohibits cheating in an illegal game. Players who lose money while gambling have the right to sue for twice the value of what they lost.