Lotto*America (later Powerball) arrives in Oregon when the state becomes one of the first seven members of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL).
The Oregon Lottery takes over the roughly 10,000 illegal video slot and poker machines—known as the “gray machines”—and regulates and taxes them. The earnings now account for 80 percent of the Lottery proceeds to public education, economic development, and natural resources.
On the heels of the 1987 US Supreme Court decision allowing gaming on tribal lands, Oregon’s first Native American bingo hall opens its doors in Canyonville. Two years later, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians upgrades the hall to the Seven Feathers Casino Resort. By 2010, the state will boast nine Indian casinos.
Video Lottery retailers sigh with relief when the state Supreme Court confirms their exemption from Oregon’s casino prohibition. By 2010, there will be 2,366 bars and restaurants with 12,333 Video Lottery machines in Oregon.
Disbanded by the federal government in 1954 but officially re-recognized in 1983, the Grand Ronde join the Indian gaming party, building Spirit Mountain Casino. It becomes the state’s most lucrative casino.
Governor John Kitzhaber appoints a task force on the effects of gambling in Oregon. The results are inconclusive but hint at a growing concern: gambling addiction. For the next decade, the number of Oregon addicts receiving treatment will increase by 25 percent every two years.
The Lottery becomes an even more fundamental part of Oregon’s economy as the state uses gambling revenues to back bonds for public school projects.
Gambling goes green when voters dedicate 15 percent of Lottery proceeds to fund state parks, watersheds, and salmon restoration.
More than 1,700 Oregon gamblers enroll in publicly funded gambling addiction treatment centers this year. Their average debt? $23,331.
After eight years of battles with the NFL, NBA, and NCAA (the last organization even blocking postseason tournament games in the Rose Garden), the Oregon Lottery pulls the plug on its popular Sports Action and Scoreboard games, which allowed players to bet on the results of sporting events.
Despite the deepening recession, Oregon hits an all-time high in gambling revenues—$622.5 million, or 9 percent of its annual general fund budget.
The recession and the new Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act’s smoking ban are blamed for sending state gambling revenue spiraling downward by 15.2 percent from 2008.
Oregon voters draw the line on gaming, crushing a proposal for the state’s first full-blown non-Indian casino, in Wood Village, by 36 percent. Meantime, the Warm Springs tribes anxiously await Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s decision on their proposed casino in the Columbia River Gorge at Cascade Locks. With the Grand Ronde tribes fearing competition for Spirit Mountain Casino (and arguing that their original treaty lands extend all the way to Cascade Locks) and the Warm Springs tribes threatening to build on a far more visible site at Hood River should they be turned down, political muscling and intertribal snarking abound. If Salazar says yes to the project before incoming Governor John Kitzhaber’s inauguration, outgoing Governor Ted Kulongoski will face a choice: gentlemanly guv-to-guv deference to Kitz’s staunch opposition to the casino (punctuated by the Grand Ronde’s $50,000 gift to his campaign) or make good on his longstanding promise to boost the tribes and Cascade Locks with jobs—while echoing ancient origins of Oregon’s games of chance.
Place your bets!