This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can I Include Money Prizes in Claw Machines in Oregon?

Question from plahplah, Can I Include Money Prizes in Claw Machines in Oregon?

Answer from AI:

When considering adding money prizes to claw machines in your business, it’s important to understand the legal implications of such a decision. In Oregon, as in many other states, the legality of offering money as a prize in a game of chance can be complex and is subject to specific regulations.

Understanding the Legal Framework

Claw machines, also known as crane games, are typically classified as amusement devices or games of skill. The distinction between a game of skill and a game of chance is crucial because games of chance are often subject to gambling laws, which are more stringent.

  • Games of Skill vs. Games of Chance: If a game is predominantly based on skill, it may be exempt from gambling regulations. However, if chance plays a significant role in determining the outcome, it could be classified as gambling.
  • State Gambling Laws: Oregon law defines gambling as staking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event with the understanding that you will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome. If your claw machine is deemed a gambling device, you could be subject to legal penalties.
  • Licensing and Permits: Even if your claw machine is considered a game of skill, you may still need a license or permit to operate it, especially if it offers cash prizes.

Regulations Specific to Oregon

In Oregon, the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 167 governs gambling activities. According to ORS 167.117, a “gambling device” includes any machine or device that is used for gambling. If your claw machine is considered a gambling device because it offers cash prizes, you could be in violation of the law.

Steps to Ensure Compliance

  1. Consult with a Legal Professional: Before proceeding, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in gaming law to get a clear understanding of the legal landscape and ensure that your business model complies with state regulations.
  2. Review State Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the Oregon Revised Statutes related to gambling and amusement devices to understand the requirements and restrictions.
  3. Consider Alternative Prizes: Instead of offering cash, consider using non-monetary prizes or tokens that can be redeemed for goods or services, which may be less likely to be classified as gambling.
  4. Apply for Necessary Permits: If required, apply for any permits or licenses needed to operate your claw machine legally in Oregon.
  5. Maintain Transparency: Clearly display the rules of the game, the odds of winning, and the nature of the prizes to maintain transparency with your customers and avoid misleading them.


While offering cash prizes in claw machines may seem like an attractive way to draw in customers, it’s essential to ensure that such practices are legal in your jurisdiction. In Oregon, there are specific laws that may classify your claw machine as a gambling device if it offers cash prizes, potentially leading to legal issues. It’s strongly recommended to seek personalized legal advice to navigate these regulations and explore alternative prize options that comply with state laws.

Remember, the information provided here is for general guidance and should not be considered as legal advice. Consulting with a legal professional is the best way to ensure that your business complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

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