Legal Oregon Poker Laws

A Guide to Poker in the State of Oregon

Orgegon Gambling Laws

In this guide to poker in Oregon you can first find a brief overview of gambling in the State before looking specifically at the laws governing poker. Then you can find where you can play live in Oregon as well as how online poker is viewed.

A Brief Overview of Gambling In Oregon

Oregon has permitted many forms of gambling within its borders for much longer than other States. The historical connection was recognized by the Federal government in 1992, when Oregon was one of four states grandfathered into an exemption for sports betting.

Horse racing and social gambling have been popular past times over the years. Poker players have benefited from this by having many members clubs opening up, using the social gaming laws to legally provide games to its members.

Casinos finally came to the State in 1992 when the tribes of Oregon started to open casinos on their land. These offer a full range of games including poker, slots and traditional casino games.

Is Poker Legal In Oregon?

Oregon’s laws are very clear when it comes to defining what is gambling. Section 167.117(7) defines the activity as when someone:

“…stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the control or influence of the person, upon an agreement or understanding that the person or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.”

The laws continue to define games of chance as only needing an element of chance to be included. This would therefore cover poker, which despite being heavily influenced by skill also includes a degree of chance. This State is tough on those caught playing or organizing illegal games, although the players receive softer penalties than the organizers who could face up to five years in jail.

Thankfully in reality poker is far from outlawed and the State provides many opportunities to play poker legally.

Live Poker Options in Oregon

Even with no commercial casinos operating in Oregon there are several tribal casinos as well as private card rooms which take advantage of a loop-hole in the law. These clubs have realized that while profiting directly from the poker games is illegal outside of the casinos, they can charge admission to their room or profit from the sale of food and drink. Member’s clubs have become widespread and provide great action for residents.

Tribal casinos started to open in Oregon in the 1990s and can be found scattered throughout the State. A range of low and mid stakes cash games can be found here, even including Omaha and Stud Hi/Lo in some casinos like Chinook Wind. Daily tournaments run, generally below $100 buy-ins.

Home games are legal in Oregon, providing the organizer does not take a fee or rake. Games are permitted under the same social gaming carve-out that allows the clubs operate. Bar leagues, which are free to enter still run here, although are less common than elsewhere due to much wider range of choices. Charity poker nights do run and work well as popular fund raising events.

The Status of Oregon Online Poker

Unfortunately the same liberal stance the State has taken towards live poker did not carry over to online games. All casino and poker gambling over the internet has been banned. The laws however apply to the operators and not the players, so it is unlikely you would be arrested for playing on any of the offshore sites from your home computer.

Many of the offshore poker rooms do accept players from Oregon. These sites operate legally in their own countries, normally Caribbean islands such as Antigua and Netherlands Antilles. They argue a right to provide games to US citizens through free-trade treaties and are enjoyed by thousands of Americans each day.

Despite the ban online poker regulation could well happen in Oregon. The State already allows internet wagering on horse racing and the ban could simply be seen as clearing out unlicensed operators before regulating the market. As more States legislate for online poker, Oregon would be a possible candidate to join them.

In Summary – Oregon Poker

With a long history of gambling, Oregon has great options for players wishing to play live poker. Not only are the residents permitted to play in home games and have the tribal casinos, the members clubs gives Oregon’s poker scene a unique element.

Oregon is less friendly to online poker, although despite imposing a ban on the operators some offshore sites continue to prove games to residents. While there is a chance of regulated poker in the state, this is still a while off with no plans in the near future.