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Oregon lawmakers form committee to review state-sanctioned gambling industry

KTVZ file

'We want to know what is and isn't working'

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -– Legislative leaders announced Friday the formation of a Joint Committee on Gambling Regulation to review the existing policies and structures that regulate state-sanctioned gambling, and take a comprehensive look at the future of the industry in Oregon.

The committee will be tasked with reviewing the existing regulatory and oversight structures for the Oregon Racing Commission and Oregon State Lottery.

“The scope of legal gambling has expanded and changed in major ways in recent years,” House Speaker Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) said. “Americans spent more money on gambling in 2021 than in any previous year. We must be mindful of the wide-ranging impacts of this growing industry, including on sovereign Tribal governments and Oregonians struggling with addiction.

"This is an important time to study how other states are approaching this new era, understand opportunities and risks, and ensure we have the right regulatory framework in place as gaming technology evolves.”

“It's been 26 years since we last took a real look at gambling in the state,” said Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem), referring to the 1996 Governor’s Task Force on Gaming. “We want to know what is and isn't working. We've given the individuals on this committee a big job... gambling has a huge impact on our state. I appreciate them for stepping up to the task.”

The committee will analyze and produce a report on the existing gambling regulatory structure in the state, the legislature’s role in approving expansion or new policies for gambling, the relationship between tribal gaming and state gaming, existing treatment and recovery resources, developments in gambling technology, and more.

The committee will follow up with recommendations on how the state can strengthen gambling regulations to protect vulnerable Oregonians, clarify the legislature's role in gambling oversight, support economic development and public services, improve coordination with tribal governmental gambling, and enhance funding and programs for addiction prevention and treatment.

The following legislators will be appointed to the joint committee:

  • Senator Sara Gelser Blouin (D-Corvallis), co-chair
  • Representative John Lively (D-Springfield), co-chair
  • Senator Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City)
  • Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale)
  • Senator Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale)
  • Representative Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland)
  • Representative Kim Wallan (R-Medford)
  • Representative Boomer Wright (R-Coos Bay)
Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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