Veteran politician and policymaker John Lively has been named chairman of Oregon’s new Gambling Regulation Committee — just in time for a new legislative session beginning on Jan. 17.
The stated goal of the new committee is to revisit and revise Oregon’s gaming laws for the first time in over 25 years and find opportunities to increase state gambling revenue.
Legal Oregon sports betting is controlled by the Oregon Lottery, which makes the bulk of its money from video lottery games. Other gambling in Oregon includes:
- Horse racing
- Off-track betting
Casino gambling exists in Oregon under tribal governance, so it is separate from the state’s oversight; however, one of the committee’s jobs will be to grow the relationship between the state and the tribes. Lively told KLCC:
“If the state continues to try to grow the lottery rapidly, the impact it has on tribes and their revenue and whether that’s a role the legislature can play regarding revenue sharing. .… .I don’t know what the answer is.”
Who’s in the Oregon Gambling Regulation Committee?
The committee consists of five members:
- Rep. John Lively of Springfield
- Rep. Farrah Chaichi of Beaverton
- Rep. Boomer Wright of Reedsport
- Rep. Courtney Neron of Wilsonville
- Rep. Kim Wallan of Medford
Oregon gambling revenue numbers
The Oregon Lottery began selling lottery tickets in 1985 and has been a profitable piece of the state’s budget ever since. For the fiscal year of 2021, the Oregon Lottery reported a contribution of $502 million for state programs.
This past October, the Oregon Lottery announced it had given back $909 million to the state for the fiscal period of July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022.
Oregon Lottery director Barry Pack said in October:
“Lottery funds are dedicated to support some of Oregonians’ most treasured programs. The sales rebound this year shows our players continue to find relevancy in our games and value the reliable revenue they provide to help make our state a great place to live.”
Oregon sports betting became legal in 2019 via the native Scorecard app. Last January, the state made the switch to the DraftKings sports betting app as the sole provider of sports gambling. Oregon residents can also place bets at 10 tribal casino locations.
What is John Lively’s background?
The 76-year started in politics as a member of the Springfield City Council before moving up to the city’s mayor. He’s been in the Oregon House of Representatives since 2013, first for District 12, but now for District 7 (the number changed, but not the location).
Lively has served on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education. He was the chair of the Committee on Early Childhood and Family Supports, and a member of the Joint Committee on Transportation, Preservation and Modernization.
Lively said that another goal of the Gambling Regulation Committee is to study the activities’ impact on the state’s residents. The committee will have the power to introduce legislation and send it to the full House for consideration. Lively said he wasn’t sure what the first aims of the committee will be but promised it would be active.
“There are areas we could potentially reach some kind of agreement on and work on policy direction, how well we take care of people addicted to gambling, specifically those who are in low-income situations who are most likely to be negatively impacted. Do we have the programs in place? Are they available? Are they effective?”