Forty-Two Poker Playing Grannies Arrested In Cyprus For Illegal GamblingNovember 25, 2009 9:54 am
Forty-two elderly women found themselves on the wrong side of Greek Cypriot law after a private poker and gin rummy session round one of their houses resulted in the group being taken off to jail en masse and booked, before being released.
The incident took place around 6pm on Sunday in Ayios Ioannis, Limassol, after neighbours starting complaining about the noise of the women’s movements to and from the house. On arriving at the private home, police found several rooms containing green felted tables, 546 chips, 530 playing cards and approximately €100 in cash.
The women were aged between seventy-five and ninety-five, and one of the ladies, commenting on the incident, said: “It is unbelievable that people would even complain about such a game.If police around the world start busting up gin rummy games, there are going to be a lot of elderly people heading to jail.”
Playing cards for money is against the law in Cyprus but the police may have an uphill struggle ahead of them if they intend on clamping down on every small stakes game taking place in a private residence. Card playing is the hobby of many elderly ladies in retirement communities on the island, with most pots rarely in excess of five dollars.
An 87-year-old Limassol resident, who preferred to stay anonymous, said: “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. The only thing police achieve by doing such raids is to ridicule women of a certain age.”
The women have been charged with illegal gambling and will have to appear in court at a later date. Although they could face jail they are more likely to receive a small fine instead.