Oregon Voters Could Consider Commercial Casino in Wood Village

Two Oregon businessmen are once again attempting to open a commercial casino — this time, in Wood Village. They submitted a proposal last week to change the state’s constitution to allow for Oregon’s first non-tribal gaming property.

Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno will oversee a possible statewide vote on whether to open a commercial casino in Wood Village. (Image: Mail Tribune)

Matt Rossman and Bruce Studer, who both are from Lake Oswego and co-run the R&S Strategy Group, tried to get a gaming venue approved in 2010 and 2012. The attempts failed. Earlier, they wanted it at the former Multnomah Greyhound Track.

Now, they are aiming to get it built on a 33-acre lot in an industrial section of Wood Village. They envision a resort casino and entertainment complex in the relatively small city, located east of Portland.

To begin the ballot title drafting process that leads to amending the constitution, the developers need to submit to state officials at least 1,000 sponsorship signatures. More signatures will be required later in the process.

If the constitution is amended, state officials could then consider awarding a 15-year license to a gaming operator. The gaming operator would have to invest at least $250 million in the entertainment and casino complex. The casino could have as many as 3,500 electronic gaming devices, as many as 150 table games, and Keno.

Proposed Casino to Benefit Oregon’s Homeless

In a recent statement, Wood Village Mayor T. Scott Harden told KATU, “The new major beneficiary … will be our homelessness efforts. I think, in a lot of people’s minds, this would get them to think. It might be the tipping point for a lot of voters.

If you have a taxpaying casino that is popular, that people go to, then you are looking at permanent funding for permanent solutions to the homeless crisis,” Harden added.

As envisioned, the casino would generate $100 million a year to benefit programs for the homeless and the state’s schools. “The taxpaying casino will pay 25 percent of the casino’s adjusted gross revenues to the State of Oregon for the purposes of fostering job growth, educational achievement, funding for homelessness, vibrant local communities, protecting and improving of the natural environment and supporting all federally recognized Indian tribes in Oregon,” according to a document submitted to the Secretary of State.

Also, Wood Village, the state police, and problem gambling funds would also benefit from the money generated by the commercial casino.

Oregon Tribes Want to Expand Gambling Venues

Now, there are only tribal casinos in the state. Some Oregon tribes are considering expanding gaming operations.

For instance, the Coquille Indian Tribe has proposed a second casino, this one in Medford. Last February, tribal leaders were awaiting a Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs ruling on whether a 2.42-acre site is part of its reservation.

That decision will determine whether the tribe can open the venue. The tribe has gradually amassed 13 acres over six years, with the latest two parcels in South Medford being acquired in 2018.

The Coquille already own and operate the Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park in North Bend, Oregon. Altogether, there are eight tribal casinos in Oregon and no commercial casinos, Oregon State Police Capt. Timothy Fox has told Casino.org.

Last year, the Oregon State Lottery hired SBTech to run its new sports betting game, according to The Oregonian. The company is based in Malta.

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