March 6, 2013

If you live in Southern Oregon, you might have been following the Indian battle between two casinos, The Mill Casino in North Bend and Seven Feathers in Canyonville. The Mill wants to open a Medford location and Seven Feathers doesn’t want their major market attacked by those coastal Indians. Well, long-term, this fight might already be over based on news from New Jersey.

In late February, New Jersey became the biggest state yet to allow regulated online gambling. Atlantic City casinos can now run websites that take bets on games such as blackjack, slots and poker. The law requires bettors to be physically present in the state, which industry executives and regulators believe can be verified with technology that tracks a user’s location. But bets could conceivably be placed from any device with an Internet connection.

Will Oregon approve online gambling someday? Yes, I think it is only a matter of time. New Jersey estimates it could generate $410 million in revenue the first year. The state’s cut, a 15% tax ($61 million).  Cash-strapped Oregon will go for the money. When this happens, the Indian fight will shift to your computer screen and not some Medford bowling alley on Old Highway 99.  And every tribe in Oregon will join the fight.

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