Oregon Governor says no to at least two new casino proposals

April 14, 2023
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A gubernatorial policy, allowing one gaming facility per Tribe on reservation land, has been criticized by the Coquille Tribal Chair.

Governor Tina Kotek recently gave her negative stance on gambling expansion to both the state of Oregon’s nine Indigenous Tribes and the Oregon Lottery. Her response to pending Tribal casino proposals has been a solid no.

The Coquille Tribe has proposed to open a casino in Medford, while the Siletz Tribe is interested in opening a casino in Salem. The Oregon Racing Commission has also been stymied in its efforts to expand betting on “historical horse racing.” The Oregon Lottery has, however, recently managed to develop its offerings to include mobile sports betting.

Kotek wrote a letter to Tribal Leaders, State and Federal Leaders and Oregon Lottery director Mike Wells stating, “Throughout my legislative career, during my campaign for this office, and since the start of my administration, I have been clear that I do not favor an expansion of gaming.

“Therefore, my policy on Tribal gaming facilities maintains the status quo from past governors, i.e., good faith bargaining between sovereign tribes and the state on one gaming facility per tribe on reservation land.”

The Cowlitz Tribe’s Ilani Casino, in Clark County Washington, sits just 30 minutes drive from Portland and has been opposed by Oregon Tribes for years. Since opening in 2017, it has opened a sportsbook, and announced the end of a partnership with Mohegan this week, with a view to becoming self-managed.

Coquille Tribal Chair Brenda Meade contrasted the state’s support of the Oregon Lottery to the opposition to the Tribes' casino plans, “The Oregon Lottery’s growing video gaming empire is everywhere—grocery stores, bowling alleys, restaurants, lottery parlors and now even on the internet.

“Opposing our economic development opportunities amounts to an attack on our ability to provide health care, housing, education and elder assistance to our people.”


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