At Last Moment, Oregon Lottery Agrees to Final Reconsideration of Portland Meadows’ Contract

Dispute over the legality of the horse track's poker room takes another twist just before scheduled contract cancellation.

The owners of Final Table and Portland Meadows poker clubs are mum on the legal strategy that will keep them in business. (Natalie Behring)

Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack is giving Oregon Racing, Inc., better known as Portland Meadows, one final chance to save its contract with his agency, which was due to be cancelled Oct. 30.

Pack has agreed that his agency will make a "declaratory ruling" after considering Portland Meadows' final argument for why it should continue to be a Lottery retailer.

As WW previously reported, the Lottery moved earlier this year to sever ties with Portland Meadows after Oregon State Police investigators determined that the track was hosting poker games that conflicted with state social gaming laws.

That cancellation would have meant Portland Meadows giving up 10 video lottery terminals, more than any other Oregon retailer has on its premises. In 2016, Portland Meadows' Lottery contract generated $1.83 million in revenue for the state and $350,000 in commissions for Portland Meadows.

Pack's last-minute decision is the latest turn of the screw in a long-running battle between poker supporters and regulators.

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

Pack agreed to give Portland Meadows one final chance after the track’s attorney pointed out that the city of Portland, which regulates poker based on city code, found that Portland Meadows had come into compliance with city requirements.

Although he agreed to reconsider, Pack made clear to Portland Meadows in an Oct. 27 letter that his agency’s position is that the poker room has been violating state laws, regardless of what the city thinks.

Here’s what Pack told Portland Meadows in his letter:


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