Pensioners’ £1 bingo jackpot shut down by council as “illegal gambling den”

The knock at the door (24) came from the council

A group of old age pensioners have had their regular bingo sessions shut down by the council, who accused them of running an illegal gambling den.

The residents at Harry Taylor House in Redditch, Worcestershire, would chip in £1 each for a game of bingo twice a week.

The games have been running weekly for 38 years, providing an opportunity for elderly players to socialise and keep their minds active.

Harry Taylor House, where the residents live (Credit: Google Maps)

On Mondays, the winner of the tiny jackpot would take the money away, and on Tuesdays the proceeds went towards tea and cake, and resident outings.

Unfortunately for the care home residents, it turned out the small prize was actually contravening Private Gaming Law.

And the friends have been told they can carry on playing, but as long as it’s only for fun and with no money on the table.

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Maureen Price, 76, told Metro: “It’s stupid, we only play for peanuts. We asked a councillor, who’s very good, to see if they can get us a licence to play here and he’s looking into it.

“The game is played in a communal area so it’s under the warden’s eye. It gives us the opportunity to all get together and keep our minds active.

“It is just a bit of fun and it’s disappointing that they want to put a stop to it.”

Credit: Pixabay
Bingo can help keep elderly minds active (Credit: Pixabay)

One potential solution to the OAPs’ difficulties is a loophole whereby the group could lawfully play for gifts, rather than straight cash.

Another resident, Hazel Cooke, spoke to the Daily Mail, saying: “There is a real social aspect to the bingo nights which is nice to have, I just hope the event hasn’t been tainted by the council’s decision.”

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However, Redditch Council replied to the complaints in a statement, saying: “We appreciate that this is a longstanding tradition for many of the residents, which we would not wish to negate.

“What we have asked is that residents do not play bingo for cash prizes as they may not be conforming to the law.

‘The Gambling Act 2005 makes it very clear that you cannot charge for participation in the game and that, in turn, the prizes cannot be made up of moneys paid to participate.

“We have made contact with a number of groups, as well as Harry Taylor House, to explain the situation.”