Imagine your grandmother getting busted for playing cards at home with her friends, even though they play for a few dollars.
My mother, God rest her soul, played Mah Jong almost every week of her life for small stakes. I can’t imagine that she would ever be hauled in for illegal gambling for a friendly game but that’s apparently what happened in late November in Cyprus, where 42 elderly women learned how riduculous some laws could be and how inflexible some cops can be.
The women ranged in age from 75-95. They were arrested after Cyprus officials raided their home card game. The take? Less than 100 pence, news reports said.
The women were busted and taken to jail. One was 95 years old. Then, they were released, but will have to appear in court at a future date to defend their card playing habits.
I guess it’s possible they could be jailed. More likely, they’ll be fined.
The bust came after nosy neighbors phoned police about noise.
What’s next Canasta busts?
The games are so popular that in some retirement communities, the clubhouse has a gambling card game nearly every night of the week. Most of these games are played with nickels and dimes, and rarely do pots exceed five dollars.
In the US, police agencies have been raiding some video gambling halls, which cater mostly to older folks, but even there, authorities have been slow to bust the actual gamblers themselves.
U.S. cops generally don’t raid private homes.