An attempt to ban poker rooms in the US state of Oregon has quietly failed after a bill made no progress in that state’s legislature.
The bill reached Oregon’s House Rules Committee for review but did not go any further after debate and loud opposition from pro-poker room figures in the state. That prompted the Committee’s Chairman, Chris Garrett to declare the bill “dead”.
Mr Garrett also said that the issue did not appear to be a priority neither for Oregon nor its elected representatives. “I don’t sense any appetite in the Legislature to shut them down,” he said. “But there may be a regulatory void that needs to be filled.”
The bill’s demise was welcomed by Geoff Sugarman, a pro poker lobbyist who has been the face of the anti-bill campaign in the state. Mr Sugarman expressed his delight at the turn of events and wanted the legislature to update the state’s social gaming laws.
“It (The social gaming laws) truly is a statute that needs significant upgrades in a number of areas,” Mr Sugarman said. “It makes sense to take at least the interim until next February and figure out exactly how to do it.”
The current social gaming laws in Oregon do not allow poker rooms and other gaming businesses to profit from monies on the actual game, such as via admission fees, commissions and dealer tips. As it currently stands, those establishments can only make money from the sale of food and beverages in the state.
While that will likely be the next step for poker in Oregon, the demise of this bill is a solid move for poker lovers in the north western state. With no state casinos, poker rooms are the only real establishments where Oregonian poker players can pursue their hobby.
Originally, the bill had support from members of both the major Republican and Democrat parties, with the bill being sponsored by Republican Julie Parrish and having the early backing of Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, a Democrat.
However, much of the non-political support for the bill came from owners of other Oregonian gaming establishments and casino owners from La Center, a town in the nearby state of Washington.
Poker players in Oregon will now be able to shuffle up and deal without any fear of having to find somewhere else to play the game they love.