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Idaho Police Raid Senior Center to Break Up Poker Game

Mar 02, 2010 - by admin
Senior Poker Game

After years of weekly games, seniors at Idaho’s Twin Falls Senior Center were shocked to have their popular poker games broken up. The seniors thought that they were legal because they donated up to $500 to the senior center every month.

The Magic Valley Times-News: Law takes dim view of gambling at senior center

Above the average criminal age, a group of Twin Falls seniors saw little mercy for having played Poker. According to some of the elder poker enthusiasts, the weekly games made them happy and shouldn’t be illegal.

Police, on the other hand, say nothing permits Idahoans to gamble at any age. Authorities went to the Twin Falls Senior Center earlier this month and explained that the weekly poker games there were illegal and must come to an end.

Five of the seniors claim that about 20 seniors played at the center for more than 5 years despite failing vision, fading memory and limited mobility. They gave an estimated $400 to $500 to the center per month. Each player put in $20 to play, and the pot was split among the top chip holders. Many of the seniors said they didn’t know what they were doing was illegal.

Authorities got involved at the senior center after receiving an anonymous tip about the weekly games. The seniors don’t know who called police, though they’d like to.

State Legislature recently passed a bill to the governor which would give authorities discretion over which gambling reports to investigate and prosecute. Gambling is a misdemeanor. A top local authority believes that this incident, among others is “at best, a waste of law enforcement resources.”

The Idaho Press: No bluff: Police break up senior center poker game

Retirees had no chance when pitted against police at the Twin Falls Senior Center earlier this month when their long-running poker game was broken up due to an anonymous tip. Roughly 20 seniors play at the center since over 5 years ago but police say the law doesn’t permit gambling at any age. Police gave the seniors a warning and didn’t make any arrests.

Residents paid in $20 to play and split the pot among the top chip holders. They donated up to $500 to the senior center each month. Because the money was given to the center, “we thought we were legal,” said 73-year-old Ora Deahl.

The seniors said they don’t know who tipped off police, but they’d like to find out. They would also like a little slack when it comes to enforcing state gambling laws.
They might get just that.

Lawmakers sent a bill to Idaho Gov. Butch Otter last week that would give authorities discretion to not investigate or prosecute all gambling reports.

Fox TV Idaho: No bluff: Police break up senior center poker game

The odds were stacked against pensioners at the Twin Falls Senior Center this month when police officers arrived to break up a long-running poker game after getting an anonymous tip.

About 20 seniors had played at the center for more than five years but police say nothing in Idaho law permits gambling at any age.

Residents paid in $20 to play and the pot was split among the top chip holders. Seventy-3-year-old Ora Deahl says she thought it was legal because the players donated up to $500 to the senior center each month.

Eighty-year-old Doris Williams says they’ve been playing the legal way without money since the police visit but it isn’t as much fun.

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