Industry Reports

Oregon Lottery’s Conflict with Portland Meadows is Still Alive

Oregon’s single horse racing track Portland Meadows continues to face legal problems, after Oregon Lottery accused the racetrack of operating an illegal poker room at the facility. In July this year, the Lottery disabled all of its machines at Portland Meadows. Besides this, the Lottery ended its contract with Portland Meadows, which granted the latter the exclusive right to operate 10 more video lottery terminals at one place.

The dispute over the legality of a poker room between Portland Meadows and Oregon Lottery continues. Similar to the other poker rooms in the state, the one at Portland Meadows is licensed. Nevertheless, it was reported that an undercover Oregon State Police detective entered the controversial poker room and observed at least 6 violations of the law. Among all other things, it was explained that to employ paid card dealers is against the state’s law.

The Lottery director Barry Pack did not miss the opportunity to use this case as a warning example to the others, announcing that the retailers who violate the law, put their permission to sell lottery products and video poker at stake.

Following the termination of the contract, on 30th August the racetrack asked the Lottery to reconsider its decision, hoping to change its mind. But the things did not go the right way for Portland Meadows, as Mr. Pack only approved once again his decision. He explained that the racing track may remain compliant with Portland’s laws, but it violates the state of Oregon’s laws. Consequently, Portland Meadows was left with a limited number of options – to appeal the termination of the contract, to quit on its Lottery contract, or to cease violating the state laws. The racetrack has to announce its decision by the end of October. Portland Meadows’ lawyer declined to comment as he did not respond to a call, intended to hear the racetrack’s stance on the matter.

Licensed, But Still Illegal?

To many it may sound strange how is it possible to operate licensed, and at the same time, illegal casino venue. In fact, it is interesting to note that Portland Meadows is not the only operator of a commercial poker room, which was punished. Encore and other licensed poker clubs were forced to suspend operations as they were accused of violating the law for years. According to experts, the operators are not to be blamed, but the puzzle of contradictory gambling laws. It is in the hands of the state’s officials to make the laws cut and dry, otherwise the chance to meet such misunderstandings in the future is more than big.