Sunday, April 19, 2015

HOW the Legislature Should Act on Internet Poker

As we laid out in this previous post, players in Oregon are already playing poker online, and it is safe to say that those players want the Oregon legislature to act to provide a safe and regulated alternative. Over the coming months, we will be working to produce, and encourage the introduction of, legislation to provide that alternative. But here is a preview of how we'd like to see that happen.  

We believe that the best way to approach internet poker in Oregon is through the lottery, similar to the approach taken by Delaware. But rather than selecting and locking in just a single provider, Oregon Lottery iPoker would be available on up to three unique platforms on which those in Oregon may play. Offering up to three different platforms assures options for the players, and good competition to the benefit of those players
To implement online poker, Oregon Lottery would solicit bids to provide internet poker service to the players in Oregon, under the Oregon Lottery brand. Oregon Lottery would be authorized to award contracts to up to three (3) unique platforms, that meet all established criteria. Applicants will, at minimum:

  1. have been inspected, approved, and licensed in at least one other state
  2. have the capability to network skins across state lines to share player liquidity
  3. agree to a contract term of not less than two, nor more than five years, to
  4. provides all services necessary to run internet poker games, for a fee

All transactions with players will be conducted by Oregon Lottery through its designated agents. Players of legal age can create an account online, through secure servers operated by Oregon Lottery, but those accounts must be funded in person at any Oregon Lottery retailer. All deposits are cash only. All withdrawals from player accounts will be by certified check within 3 business days. Personal information will be required, and kept secure and confidential.
To assure an ample player pool, considered key to having viable games, sharing player liquidity with other states is a must. To that end, Oregon Lottery will negotiate and enter into multi-state agreements to facilitate shared player pools where common platforms allow, such as and including the example set by NV and DE.

Prospective providers include:

888 - Operating in DE, NV, and NJ. Sole provider in DE. Already sharing liquidity across state lines. Decent interface, either 2nd or 3rd, with Pokerstars and Party Poker. Best first choice in our view.

PartyPoker - Operating only in NJ. Agreement with NJ would be a big plus, as 888 is also in NJ. This would be the obvious second choice at this time.

Pokerstars - Not currently licensed in any other state, but NJ is expected to approve them in the immediate future. With an agreement with NJ and Pokerstars in that market, this would be the top choice. As of this writing, it is only a future contingent.