The beautiful state of Oregon is famed for its diverse landscape of mountains, forests, and beaches…but we’re not here to talk about that. You’re a gambling person and you want to know what types of gambling are legal in Oregon, and what are not. When it comes to the land-based variant, it is pretty clear cut. However, if you have an inkling for playing online, it can get a little less so. That’s because Oregon has an explicit law making the acceptance of online bets illegal, but is less clear when it comes to actually playing online. 

Here, we’ll attempt to clear up the clutter and take a closer look at the legalities of land-based and online gambling if you’re living in the state of Oregon, from what exactly you can play and what you should rather steer clear of. We’ll also briefly touch on social gaming, as well as free play gaming like Facebook casinos, mobile social casinos, fun play casinos, free play online casinos, free fun online slots and social casino apps.

But first, let’s start with a quick history lesson.

A Brief History of Gambling in Oregon

In the 1980s, the rights of Native American tribes to run gambling operations within the state were affirmed, with the 1988 federal law, known as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, codifying the rights of tribes to offer class 3 gaming (lotteries and casino games). In other words, between Oregon’s social, charitable and lottery laws, her 9 tribes could potentially offer almost any type of game. The Cow Creek tribe were the first to successfully negotiate with the state in the early 1990s. By 1996, all 9 tribes were in negotiations and 6 casinos had been opened, soon to be followed by three more. In 2009, the total net revenue reported by these casinos amounted to over $500 million.

Online gambling was therefore, and understandably, seen as a threat to this revenue by the tribes, while the state itself never actively pursued legalising it in their statutes. In fact, they made online gambling illegal, but with possible wiggle room for players, as the law pertained to not accepting bets online as opposed to actually playing online casino games at offshore operations.     

What Types of Gambling are Legal?

So what exactly is legal in the state of Oregon, and what is not – let’s take a look…

  • Casino games: Yes, it’s legal.  There are currently 9 tribal casinos – Chinook Winds Casino, Indian Head Casino, Kla-Mo-Ya Casino, The Mill Casino Hotel, Seven Feathers Hotel & Casino Resort, Spirit Mountain Casino, Three Rivers Casino, Three Rivers Casino Coos Bay, and Wildhorse Resort & Casino – operating within state borders, all of which offer class 3 casino games: blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and slot machines.
  • Online casino games: Here, it can get confusing for players, so let’s try to break it down. Oregon has a pretty explicit anti-Internet gambling law, but this is targeted particularly at operators running online casinos from within the state’s borders: in other words, you cannot run an online casino business from Oregon and accept bets from anyone over the Internet. What the law does not make explicit, is whether or not playing an online casino game is illegal. As a result of this, fully licensed and regulated offshore online casinos, like Bovada, Slots.lv, Aladdin’s Gold and more, are happy to accept players from Oregon, regardless of the legal climate. In addition, no-one has ever been arrested in the state for playing online casino games, so as long as you’re gambling at a permissible site, you should be fine.
  • Free play online casino games: Yes. As these games are played purely for entertainment, not money, they’re perfectly legal. Simply do an online search for fun play casinos, mobile social casinos, Facebook casinos, free play online casinos, social casino apps, how to play on Facebook casinos, or free fun online slots to find what you’re looking for.
  • Live poker games: Yes, there are 3 options: firstly, you can play at any of the tribal casinos; secondly, there are plenty of poker card rooms that are legal because they return all of the prize money back to the players, as opposed to profiting directly; and thirdly, you’re allowed to play poker at home as long as nobody is profiting from it.
  • Sports betting: Yes. Oregon was one of only 4 states, along with Montana, Nevada and Delaware, which were “grandfathered” into an exemption from the Federal ban on sports betting in 1992. Since 1931, pari-mutuel betting for horse racing was introduced and today, Oregon offers advanced betting options and accepts bets on horse racing from out of state. However, greyhound racing and lottery games based on pro-sports results are no longer available.
  • Online sports betting: As with online casino games, this is a bit of a grey zone, so we recommend you use licensed offshore online sports betting sites like Bovada, Sports Betting, BetOnline and 5Dimes, which accept bets from Oregon. 
  • State lottery: Yes, Oregon has a state lottery and allows participation in inter-State drawing games.
  • Social gambling: Yes…in fact, it’s massive in the state of Oregon, and includes charity games that extend to poker, bingo, raffles, and ‘casino nights’. All profits go towards the charities involved, not to the house.

Take note that in the state of Oregon, the legal gambling age for the lottery, horse racing, and online or offline poker and bingo, is 18. If you want to play at an online casino, sportsbook, or live dealer, the legal age is 21.

Final Thoughts

If you’re living in Oregon and you want to gamble, you have several options open to you from the popular land-based tribal casinos, to social gambling, horse racing and more. When it comes to online gambling, remember that the law explicitly prohibits you from accepting bets online as an operator, but is less explicit when it comes to actually playing online casino games, or sports betting, for that matter. In other words, as long as you’re playing at licensed and regulated offshore casinos that accept players from Oregon, you should be safe from prosecution. Remember, laws can change overnight, so if you’re concerned and you want a proper legal opinion, please consult a lawyer. That said, you can always play at online casinos or Facebook casinos that offer free play – these are totally legal as you’re not playing for real money. Play safe and have fun!