Dorchester Debate#4: Abolish State Gambling

If you are not at Dorchester you are missing all the fun. If you can’t be there you still can offer your comments on the hot topics they will be debating. Below are the pro-con of their four debate topics, please feel free to drop us your comment.

Resolved: The Oregon Constitution should be amended to abolish state-sponsored gambling, including the State Lottery and retail video gaming machines.

The State of Oregon is addicted to gambling””its citizens on games of chance, its government on the abundant and steady profits. And like the pusher who preys on the junkie, the state preys on the gambling addict. Marketing campaigns whitewash gambling with euphemisms like “lottery” and “gaming,” while instruments of extortion proliferate across Oregon. The recreational player can recognize gambling’s universal truth: assured long-term monetary disadvantage. But the problem gambler is blind to the cold odds his government has set against him. Video Poker pays 92.8% which means for every $100 gambled the average participant “wins” $92.80 with the state pocketing the remaining $7.20. By contrast the smaller fly by night operations in Las Vegas operating standard slot machines payout 96.6%. While gambling does offer a significant and steady source of revenue, this comes at a high social and moral cost. Should our government, which is flush with record revenues already, continue to profit off the weaknesses of its most vulnerable citizens? It is time to get the State of Oregon out of the gambling business.


Each day thousands of Oregonians cast a vote in support of the State Lottery and other games of chance, by playing. Combined, the State of Oregon receives $483 million a year in revenues from lottery games and retail video poker and line games. These funds provide a steady, reliable and increasingly important role in supporting the day-to-day operations of state government. Local governments””cities, counties and ports for example””also benefit from lottery funds in the form of grants. And all of these proceeds are generated voluntarily, through the thousands of individual choices made by average Oregonians to spend their money in pursuit of gaming entertainment. While opponents claim gaming to be an increasing social problem, the opposite is actually true. A recent study showed a decrease in the percentage of Oregonians who could be classified as “problem gamblers.” Much of this improvement is directly attributable to the aggressive problem gambling awareness campaigns run by the state to prevent and treat gambling addiction. Funding for those programs is in part assured thanks to the reliable and steady revenue from the Oregon State Lottery. Abolition of the State Lottery is a solution in search of a problem.

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Posted by at 08:05 | Posted in Measure 37 | 32 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    This tax on the stupid should be abolished now and forever. Shame on Oregon – the gambling in our state has ruined many people’s lives – and for what – a couple hundred million?
    Shame on Oregon and shame on the weak politicos who don’t have the brains or the courage to put a stop to this madness.
    You people are pathetic.

  • Richard

    I will still keep it going; it is the only tax that is truly voluntary. If a person is stupid to become a problem gambler then they need to face the sequences of their own action. I am tired of government saving people from their stupid mistakes. I do not need an Nanny State

    With that said, I am outrage by the hyproarcy of the state. One hand prohibiting private gambling and at the same time supporting the lottery and doing thing that they would arrest private citizens if caught, For example rigging games of chance in order to get more revenue.

    • Lottery retailer

      As an Oregon lottery retailer, I can tell you, yes we sell a lot of games, We do scratch and online games only. It is our responsibility to not sell to people, we see truly have a problem, just like OLCC requires us not to sell alcahol to the visibly intoxicated, or underage, or those buying for minors. Truthfully, I don’t see near the problem the anti gamblers do. In our country we are supposed to have the right to make our own choices. I haven’t seen anybody that doesn’t like gambling, that is missing any skin off their noses.

  • Jason W.

    Dorchester Results:
    Yes = 121
    No = 73

  • Captain_Anon

    it surprises me that those who want less government intervention would want to prohibit the choice of people to gamble or not. i say let it stay. people can choose not to play.

  • Jerry

    Capt. – again you miss the point completely. You don’t need government to provide gambling opportunities. They abound already in the private sector. We are against Oregon’s “gambling” because the state does not need the revenue nor should the state be involved in gambling as a source of revenue. Plain and simple. This tax on the stupid is nothing our state goverment should be involved in – period.
    Get it?

    • Captain_Anon

      Jerry, i just disagree with you. I see no reason why the state shouldn’t have the games. No once is forced to play. it provides revenue that is completely voluntary. i see no reason why the state shouldn’t be involved, and no one has provided a reason yet that would have me lean against it. I like the idea of a revenue stream that people choose to contribute to or not. it’s choice. and it’s great.

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