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 Oregon Casinos & Gambling 

Oregon Casinos & Gambling

Gambling in Oregon has become a popular pastime with locals and tourists alike. With voters allowing the state lottery to begin in 1984, followed a few years later by the opening of a number of Native American tribal casinos due to the passage of the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, Oregon has grown to become second only to Nevada when it comes to gambling availability and variety. Besides the casinos, many bars, taverns, and restaurant lounges have lottery video poker machines, and some have just recently added video slots. Horse racing offering Pari-Mutuel wagering is available in some locations for those who enjoy doing their gambling at the track. Wherever you live or visit in Oregon, it should never be hard to find a place for some gambling fun, especially in or near major Oregon cities such as Portland, Salem, Bend or Medford.

Gambling has been legal in the state of Nevada since 1931, but other states in the union were slow to allow even limited gambling. Once Oregon began its lottery in 1984, however, it started to become a front-runner for allowing different types of state-operated gambling, such as sports betting with the Sports Action Lottery that started in 1989 and lottery keno games every 5 minutes that began in 1991. The first Tribal casino was opened in 1994, and gambling in tribal casinos became extremely popular almost immediately. Tribal casinos were able to offer more than what the lottery games were offering, and their success increased tourism profits for many areas of Oregon.

There are many tribal casinos in Oregon - from the northern coast to the eastern desert and mountains. Whatever your gambling pleasure, these casinos can offer gaming such as video poker, slots, blackjack, video keno, and even table games such as regular poker, Pai Gow poker, blackjack, and bingo. At many of these tribal casinos there is also lodging in attached hotels, and some offer complimentary shuttles to and from various towns and cities across the state. Most of the tribal casinos are located in or near areas that are already popular with tourists, which adds to their success. Many of the tribal casinos are said to be “quieter” compared to casinos in Nevada, due to the fact that their slots, video poker and keno machines print out receipts when you cash out instead of the money coming directly from machines. The receipts are taken to a counter and a cashier distributes the winnings.

With the growing popularity of table poker games, especially Texas Hold’em, a lot of the tribal casinos have been jumping on the bandwagon and hosting periodic poker tournaments for serious players. The Chinook Winds Casino and Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon, for example, hosts it’s own poker tournaments during the week. There’s a small entry fee and minimum buy-in amount, and each player starts out with the same amount of chips. Winners can receive some impressive cash prizes.

Horse racing has been a popular sport in the state of Oregon for a long time, and in the fairly recent past it, and greyhound racing, which is no longer practiced in the state of Oregon, were the only way for Oregonians to gamble legally. With the advent of state lottery video poker machines in restaurants and bars, and the building of tribal casinos across the state, horse racing has lost some gamblers to the other types of betting. The race tracks, however, have been trying to compensate by putting in or seeking permission to have state lottery gambling machines such as video poker and video slots installed at their facilities. A couple of the smaller racetracks have closed, but the larger ones, such as Portland Meadows in North Portland, remain alive and well for track enthusiasts. Observing and gambling on live horse races has its own unique attraction and diehard followers.

The horse racing tracks in Oregon, most of which have quarter horse as well as thoroughbred racing, use the Pari-Mutuel style of wagering. Pari-Mutuel means “betting among ourselves”, which is a fairly good condensed definition of this type of wagering. With Pari-Mutuel wagering you are not betting against the house like you would with video poker, slots or blackjack in casinos; you are betting against the other bettors. The size of the winnings is determined by what the odds were against the horses that won, and how many people have bet. The track does get a percentage of any winnings, which is known as their “take”.

Greyhound racing, which also used the Pari-Mutuel style of wagering, was a popular gambling sport for many years in Oregon. But the last greyhound racing track, Multnomah Greyhound Park, was closed recently due to competition from the tribal casinos and the video poker machines in restaurant lounges and bars, plus pressure from animal welfare advocates.

Gambling in Oregon, whether it is state-operated video poker and slots in restaurant lounges and bars or tribal casinos, has proven to be very popular with locals and tourists alike, and appears to have gained a strong foothold in the state. The tribal casinos have been especially successful; partly due to their location near popular tourist spots, and largely due to the quality of their casinos and hotels. Oregonians, for the most part, have embraced the idea of legalized limited gambling in their state, and the state and the various Native American tribes who own the casinos have been reaping the benefits of this popularity. The state of Oregon collects much-needed revenue for important state programs, and the Native American tribes use their casino profits to help improve their communities and to ensure a quality education for their children. The state of Oregon even donates part of the lottery gambling profits toward support programs for those who develop gambling problems.

Video poker machines, video slots, video keno, bingo, blackjack, and poker - all of these games are available in Oregon for local gambling enthusiasts and/or tourists from other states who want to add a bit of excitement to their vacation.

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