Oregon Lottery and Portland Meadows Continue to Battle Over Poker at the Racetrack

State agency holding firm on cancellation of state's single biggest purveyor of video lottery.

The battle over the legality of commercial poker in Portland continues.

Portland's poker rooms are licensed by the city, wildly popular—and too illegal to last.

The Oregon Lottery and Oregon Racing, Inc., (better known as Portland Meadows) remain at loggerheads over the racetrack's desire to both host the city's leading poker room and remain a Lottery retailer.

In July, the Lottery canceled the contract that allows Portland Meadows to have 10 terminals, more than any location in the state. The cancellation came after Oregon State Police investigators found Meadows' poker games appeared to violate state and local gambling laws.

Portland Meadows asked the Lottery to reconsider. But on Aug. 30, Lottery Director Barry Pack not only affirmed the cancellation, he in effect doubled down, saying that although Meadows had apparently satisfied the city of Portland that it was in compliance with city poker rules, the Lottery believed Meadows' poker room still appeared to be violating state laws prohibiting the earning "house income" from cover charges and acting as a bank by exchanging chips for money.

"Lottery does not agree with [Portland Meadows'] interpretation of state law," Pack wrote.

Pack gave Meadows until Oct. 30 to either cease violating state laws, appeal the cancellation in state court or give up its Lottery contract, which in 2016 generated $1.83 million in revenue for the state and nearly $350,000 in commissions for Meadows.

A lawyer for Portland Meadows did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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