Oregon Racetrack to Axe 226 Workers if Gaming Machines Are No-Go

Posted on: January 12, 2022, 01:53h. 

Final up to date on: January 12, 2022, 02:53h.

An Oregon racetrack owned by Dutch Bros espresso billionaire Travis Boersma will lay off 226 staff subsequent month. That’s except the state racing fee greenlights its software for 225 historic horse-racing machines.

Travis Boersma
Dutch Bros co-founder Travis Boersma says he needs to avoid wasting racing at Grants Go, however is working out of endurance with Oregon authorities over his gaming machine software. (Picture: Dutch Bros)

The ultimatum, first reported by Willamette Week, comes as an alliance of 9 Oregon tribal operators continues to pressurize the legislature to place playing enlargement on maintain. These embrace the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, which operates the Seven Feathers On line casino Resort, 40 miles north of Grants Go.

The tribes are calling for a complete assessment of the state’s playing panorama, noting it has been a quarter-century for the reason that final one.

They maintain exclusivity on slots and on line casino gaming below the phrases of their compacts with the state. However they really feel this proper is being threatened by the expansion of historic horse-racing machines, in addition to mobile betting, which has been out there through the Oregon Lottery since 2019.

A invoice that may have established a process drive to look at the way forward for playing within the state stalled within the legislature final 12 months.

Flying Lark on Maintain

Following the demise of Portland Meadows in 2019, Grants Go is now the one business racetrack left in Oregon.

Boersma is itching to open the Flying Lark, a eating, ingesting, and playing institution adjoining to the observe that he claims will remodel Grants Go into an “epicenter of world racing.”

However first, he wants these playing machines.

In a discover to state authorities seen by Willamette Week, the observe mentioned it had anticipated a choice final month from the racing fee. But it surely just lately realized it first wants sign-off from the Oregon Division of Justice, which is holding up the method.

We’ve dotted each ‘i,’ we’ve crossed each ‘t’ — we’ve had quite a few conversations with tribe, with state and political figures, soup-to-nuts, top-to-bottom over the course of the final three years and there has not as soon as been the point out, the concept we’d not be capable of open our doorways,” Boersma instructed native ABC affiliate KDRV.

“I had a dialog with [employees] final week and I needed to allow them to know what trigger and impact are right here, and it’s catastrophic for individuals and their lives,” he added.

Tech Outpacing Regulation 

Historic horse racing machines enable gamers to guess on replays of previous races with the identities of the races obscured. They’ve been authorized in Oregon since 2012, however solely at racetracks. That’s as a result of they broadly use the pari-mutuel betting system permitted at racetracks.

The tribes dispute this. In a letter final October to the state’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, they complained the latest technology of machines had “advanced past the pari-mutuel system to the purpose the place they’re “nothing apart from slot machines, from a participant perspective.”

“The state’s regulatory framework has not advanced to replicate new expertise or its impacts on the general public,” the tribes wrote. “We’re at a crucial second the place the state is about to approve the biggest enlargement of state-regulated playing in a long time with out public or legislative enter.”

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