First person with the correct answer will win one $10 raffle ticket into the Oregon Lottery raffle! Officials consider lowering retailers' share to make up for a 20 percent dive in profits from last year. Brent Wojahn, The OregonianBrad Harrison (left) and Steven Huffaker play video poker at Captain Ron's Sports Bar & Grill in Sherwood on Sunday afternoon. Oregon Lottery profits are tanking under the weight of the recession, and that puts pressure on state officials to squeeze as much money as possible out of video gambling. Lottery officials today open debate about whether to cut deeper into the share of the money kept by the bars and taverns that host the machines. The taverns and bars have seen their video lottery commissions cut five times since the games began in 1992. Last year, the lottery paid out about $187 million in video gambling commissions, averaging about $71,000 for every bar and tavern with machines.
But profits from video gambling games are down by more than 20 percent from this time last year, a drop that lottery officials blame on the sour economy and a statewide smoking ban that went into effect in January. The state lottery commission is preparing to issue new contracts to bars and taverns next year. When you slip a dollar into any of the gambling machines brought to you by the Oregon Lottery, the tavern or bar gets a piece of your losses -- about 23 cents of every buck you leave behind.


Under pressure over the years, the lottery commission has steadily dropped that rate from a high of 35 percent. Critics of the lottery's current deal say the cuts didn't go far enough, given how little it costs bars and taverns to maintain the state-owned machines. Bill Perry, a lobbyist for the Oregon Restaurant Association, said cutting into commissions will only decrease the incentives of bars and taverns to offer the games and keep longer hours aimed at bringing in gamblers. The law says the state must spend lottery profits on education, parks and other state programs. State Superintendent of Schools Susan Castillo says she wants to see the lottery slash the bars' and taverns' commission rates from 23 percent to 15 percent. She says that change would have given state about another $50 million in the current two-year budget. Castillo says she doesn't believe cutting the retailers' rate will do lasting damage to bars and taverns. In an interview Monday, Oregon Lottery Director Dale Penn said he has not made a decision on what to recommend to the lottery commission. He said the lottery's charge is to maximize the state's profits and sales could be hurt if too many bars and taverns went out of business or dropped the games. The Dublin Pub's Bullard says she has never counted on lottery profits to stay in business but she is certain other bar and tavern owners need the money to survive.


Lottery officials today will hold a public hearing to debate whether to reduce the share for taverns and bars and give more money to schools and state programs. But many have more than made up for those cuts because of sales surges spurred by the Las Vegas-style "line games" the state introduced in 2005. The prospect of lower commission rates has raised concerns among bar and tavern owners and sparked a renewed lobbying campaign against cutting the rates. Over the next two years, about 8 percent of the state's basic school fund, or about $439 million, will come from lottery profits. He said falling lottery sales have put many bars and taverns in difficult financial situations. All rights reserved (About Us).The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Oregon Live LLC.



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