Oregon city considering social gaming ordinance

The city council in Sutherlin, Oregon, is considering a social gaming ordinance that could legalize a form of public low-stakes gambling other than those used as charity events.

The previous owner of The Cel Tavern, Larry Larson, brought the idea to the City Council last August. He wanted to be able to host social tournaments for people to come together and play socially and the tavern wouldn't take a cut from the game.

The ordinance would require establishments to get a gaming license from the city instead of the Oregon Department of Justice, and the stakes for the games would have to remain low. Players would only be able to bet a maximum of $1 per game and could win no more than $1 multiplied by how many people are playing.

The City Council tabled the ordinance only a month after it was introduced because Larson sold his establishment. However, the new owner, Kathye Bailey, has also expressed an interest in hosting social games now that she's had time to get comfortable running the tavern.

Though the ordinance has been tabled for almost a year, the City Council can pick it up again rather than having to reintroduce it, which means it could be approved as early as their next meeting.

The original request did have some opposition in the City Council, including Mayor Joe Mongiovi who said he's against legalizing social gambling but is willing to let the City Council discuss the ordinance.

Even if it's approved, the ordinance wouldn't take effect immediately. Plus there is at least a 30-day waiting period between submitting an application for a license and when it becomes effective so the police department can investigate any criteria that could disqualify the business from getting a license.

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