Oregon Legislators Consider Closing All Commercial Poker Rooms in the State

Oregon Legislators Consider Closing All Commercial Poker Rooms in the State

All commercial poker rooms in Oregon may face closure if the Senate and Governor Kate Brown sign the bill passed in the Oregon House last Thursday. House Bill 2190 (.pdf), which alters the definition of “social games” for gambling regulation purposes, was approved with a vote of 39-16, with 5 members not voting. The bill was introduced on January 9 and has undergone 10 actions, including moving to the Senate President’s desk.

The bill would allow cities and counties like Portland and Multnomah County, where most of the state’s 20 non-profit rooms currently operate, to only permit “social” poker games if operated by religious, fraternal, or charitable organizations. According to a report from April 26, 2013, on oregonlive.com, this isn’t the first iteration of the bill, and anti-gambling lawmakers claim to fix social gaming kunjungi agen online terbaik https://giphy.com/channel/tujuhnagalivechet rules that came into effect in the 1980s and were never intended to allow poker dens or clubs.

Oregon poker rooms operate with players chasing community pots, unlike casino games where players wager against the house or dealer. The house doesn’t take a rake, and dealers are only allowed to be compensated in tips, which might change if the bill is passed or not.

The rooms make money through additional fees, such as a $10 entry fee, along with food and beverage sales. Some card room owners argue that keeping the clubs open keeps poker above ground and attracts a better crowd. Modern players also know they must behave with a certain etiquette or they will be bounced and not welcomed back.

In addition to a dozen poker rooms in Portland, there are around a dozen bars and taverns offering Texas Hold’em tournaments on certain nights. These games would also cease if the law is enacted.

Previous opinions by the Oregon Attorney General stipulated that social game dealers could only be compensated with tips, but now the Oregon Department of Labor argues they should be considered employees, throwing another wrinkle into the mix and prompting Portland city officials to say they will begin enforcing state laws on the matter.

House Bill 2190 defines social games as “games, other than lottery, between players in a private home where no house player, house bank, or house odds exist, and there is no house income from the operation of the social game.”

It’s currently unclear what appetite the Senate will have for the bill, or whether it will make it out of committee. No committee hearings or floor sessions are currently scheduled for the bill. In its previous life, the 2013 bill was reportedly promoted by Washington card rooms as a last-ditch effort to eliminate competition nearby. PokerAtlas counts 41 poker rooms in Washington.