Portland has a thriving poker community that regularly play poker at the thirteen poker rooms in the city and also at the additional seven poker rooms that are located within the county. These poker rooms have been around for over a decade and have grown extremely popular with every passing year.
These poker rooms are used as a hub where poker players meet regularly, play poker games for profit and look to improve their poker skills and strategy so that they build up the confidence to eventually play the big tournaments and compete against professional poker players and make it big.
Bill To Close Portland’s Poker Rooms
Portland’s thriving poker scene is now under threat after Oregon House of Representatives passed house bill HB 2190 with a majority vote 39-16 in favour of the ban and has moved on to the Oregon Senate who will review and vote on the bill shortly. HB 2190 looks to amend current gaming laws by allowing only charitable and social poker games. All ‘for profit poker games’ would be banned and Portland’s poker rooms will have to abide by the new rules should the bill be signed into existence. The new bill will permit religious, fraternal and charitable organizations like the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion to operate these social casino games.
Oregon’s gaming legislation goes back to 1973 when legislators approved social gaming to be held in private clubs and business establishments. Over the years, a number of companies have challenged the gaming law and its interpretation, going on to open a number of poker rooms that turned out to be very successful in Portland.
Authorities Target Poker Rooms
The authorities have turned their focus on these poker rooms during the last 12 months and have often raided the most popular poker rooms in Portland. The authorities have cracked down on these poker rooms for employing professional dealers as legally the games have to be self-dealt. Poker rooms that were guilty of such practices were shut down for a period of 2 weeks and were also asked to pay a significant fine.
The fact that the authorities have turned up the heat does not come as a surprise to Portland’s poker rooms nor will the new gaming amendment be a shock. This is because poker room owners are aware of the fact that the Indian tribes who operate casinos in the state are not happy losing revenue to these poker rooms and are now putting pressure on multiple fronts to see if they can shutdown Portland’s poker rooms.
Indian Tribes Want Closure
Indian tribes like the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Coquille Indian Tribe and the Klamath Tribe all operate casinos in Oregon and are estimated to be losing between $10-$15 million each year to these poker rooms. The tribes want to put an end to these poker rooms which will automatically have a positive impact on their revenues. The tribes are also facing competition from casinos in neighbouring states.
The Cowlitz tribe opened the Ilani casino earlier this year which is home to 75 table games, 2500 slot machines and 20 poker tables. The casino is just 20 miles from Portland and is expected to bring in more than 4.5 million visitors each year. Should the new gaming amendment in Oregon by approve, it is highly liked that a number of Portaland’s poker players will travel out of state to the nearby Ilani casino and play at their tables.
Governor Position Not Clear
This is something that Oregon legislators will want to prevent from happening as that will result in gambling dollars going out of state. For the last four years, there have been attempts made to close down the poker rooms in Portland but nothing has materialized so far because there hasn’t been a corresponding bill that could be reconciled and then sent to the Governor for review.
Governor Kate Brown has so far not made her views clear when it comes to Portland’s poker rooms. The poker rooms continue to operate and comply with the written law for now and will have to once again wait patiently to see how HB 2190 plays out.

This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site.