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Oregon Lottery Calls On Problem Gambling Advisory Committee

The Oregon Lottery is looking to make a strong push into the world of online gambling by adding online options for those residents who wish to purchase tickets online. Before that site goes live, however, the lottery wants to ensure that they are not going to cause an increase in underage gambling.

On Monday, the lottery announced that they would be putting together a five-member panel, made up of problem gambling experts. The panel's directive is to examine whether or not the Oregon Lottery's marketing and online site will promote problem gambling. The results of the panel's findings will help shape how the lottery moves forward in the future.

The ORcade is the site that has led to the advisory committee's creation. Residents and anti-gambling groups alike have raised concerns over the new online gambling site, which was introduced in BETA form as a test version. The site has a networking capability, and allows gamblers who purchased losing scratch-off tickets a second chance at winning.

Underage gambling is always a concern when it comes to gambling expansion. Around the country, lawmakers have weighed the pros and cons of gambling expansion, and in most cases, moved forward with the planned expansion. In the Northeast, legislators have thrown caution to the wind as New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maine have all authorized new casinos over the past five years.

Governor John Kitzhaber forced the issue of examination in Oregon when he insisted the lottery halt the launching of the online gambling site until further research was completed. The governor's mandate led to the lottery creating the five-member panel. The first meeting of the panel will take place in January, with subsequent meetings all leading to a final recommendation for the lottery.

The online gaming site will not only feature real money gambling, but also free games. The free games may look good on the surface, according to one problem gambling counselor who wished to remain anonymous, but the free games could "cause a pattern of dangerous and destructive gambling behavior."

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