To Oregon's credit, its laws on gaming are clear, leaving little room for misinterpretation. Unfortunately for residents of the state, this is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to sports gambling and playing cards. Placing a bet or playing in a game with someone who is collecting a fee is illegal and comes with a harsh penalty.

It isn't all bad in Oregon, however. Tribal compacts set the stage for casino gambling years ago, and social games in which the house is not collecting any money are completely legal. Bettors have options, but must bet online at their own risk.

Best Betting Sites for Oregon

Gaming Laws in Oregon

In the 1970's, Oregon turned a corner when it came to non-casino gaming throughout the state. Charity gambling was legalized in 1971 and later amended in 1976 to include bingo and raffles. In 1973, “social gaming” was legalized, allowing players to run card games or place bets with each other as long as the house was not receiving any money or a fee.

Casino gaming came into play in the 1990's. The first tribal compacts formed between the state of Oregon and its tribes only allowed for Class I and Class II gaming, which essentially would have only allowed these Native American casinos to serve as bingo halls. Later revisions allowed Native Americans to offer slots and standard table games (Class III gaming), and six casinos were opened in 1996.

In 2011, a law was passed that made accepting money from gambling online illegal. Any person that accepts funds online to be used for gambling in the state of Oregon is committing a Class C felony. It is important to note, however, that this law only mentions internet gambling in that it is illegal to accept money and take bets online. It does not mention being on the betting side of the equation.

Sports Betting in Oregon

Oregon is one of only four states in the United States that sports betting is legal in as the state was exempt from the federal ban on sports betting in 1992 due to existing laws. Unfortunately for sports bettors, Oregon only applies this legality to horse racing and does not offer any legal options for professional or collegiate sports betting.

Online Betting

Residents of the state of Oregon that want to place bets on sporting events must do so at offshore sportsbooks. Some offshore sportsbooks may not take action from Oregon residents considering the fact that Oregon has its stance on the illegality of taking wagers online in its state constitution. But these sportsbooks are located in other countries and are not under the jurisdiction of Oregon's or the United States' laws, so many will still take the player's action. Check with your sportsbook of choice to see if Oregon residents are allowed.

Placing a bet with a Sportsbook is explicitly illegal in Oregon and comes with a potential penalty of a Class A misdemeanor. There is no precedent for this law being enforced when it comes to players betting online, but residents of Oregon should still be aware of it and make their own decisions.

Poker and Casino in Oregon

Casino gambling is available at a handful of locations throughout the state of Oregon thanks to tribal casinos. These casinos offer standard table games, slot machines and poker rooms. While the state does have land-based poker rooms at its casinos, none of these rooms are very big with all of them running less than 20 tables.

Online Poker

Poker players looking for more variety and more consistency at the tables can play at offshore poker rooms. Offshore poker rooms are not legal in the state of Oregon, but considering they are in other countries they do not need to adhere to Oregon's state laws.

Residents of Oregon, on the other hand, are subject to the state's laws. While the Oregon Statutes do not specifically mention online gambling as illegal, it would seem to be covered under section 167.122 which makes it a Class A misdemeanor to “participate or engage in unlawful gambling as a player.” Texas Hold'em is among the games listed in Oregon as illegal to play in a situation in which the house is making money.

This is not a commonly enforced law, but poker players in the state of Oregon should still be aware of it and weigh the risks.

Other Gaming Options in Oregon

Portland Meadows in Portland offers limited live racing during the year and simulcast racing to other tracks around the nation year-round. Oregon residents can also place bets on horses via the internet or telephone using state-sanctioned means.

Oregon Lottery

The Oregon Lottery began in 1985 with scratch-off tickets and one drawing game. It has since expanded to include more in-state drawing games and multi-state drawing games including the Powerball and Mega Millions. In 1991, Virtual Lottery Terminals were allowed into bars, giving players the chance to play electronic lottery games from the comfort of their local bar.

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