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Elderly poker game raided in illegal gambling swoop

26/11/2009
Police in Cyprus have been bringing the boot down this week against what they would describe as illegal gambling – bringing the curtain down on the regular home game of 42 elderly women. Last Sunday officers were called to a house in Ayios Ioannis after a neighbour complained of noise and found a number of women, mostly between 75 and 85 playing cards for money in a room with green felted tables. The police promptly arrested the culprits, including a 95 year-old and confiscated their stakes, which amounted to about €100.

The women were charged then released as all forms of playing cards for money is prohibited in Cyprus and police regularly raid card rooms and betting shops on the island. However there is a growing level of debate as to why the police had to involve themselves in this case given the nature of the clientele, and the fact that the elderly women were gambling for such small stakes. The home game, run by two women aged 79 and 70 was also a private event adding more weight to the argument.

“Most of my friends are widows and at our age there is not much to do. For years now we organise afternoon tea parties at our houses each week, on a rotating basis. We get together, drink tea and play cards. We only gamble a few euros and it’s all just for fun,” an 87-year-old Limassol resident who preferred to remain anonymous told the Cyprus Mail. “The only thing police achieve by doing such raids is to ridicule women of a certain age,” she continued.
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