The Muncie, Indiana based center has been hosting card nights for several decades. The games include euchre, poker, and bridge, in addition to bingo. Because there is a $2.50 buy in and meager prizes are won, such as fruit or cookies, it qualifies as gambling and is illegal.
The Star Press reports:
The Indiana Gaming Commission last week contacted officials of the senior center — where the most common regular activities, besides euchre, include bridge and line dancing — and told them the pay-for-play must stop.
Senior center officials scrambled to comply and notified the 50 or so euchre players that the days of “Vegas on West Eighth Street” were over.
Center officials are worried about the potential loss of rent from the euchre players, but players like Wilson and her daughter are left shaking their heads.
“It gives them some excitement,” said Wilson’s daughter, Karla Lance. In other words, Wilson and her fellow euchre players aren’t in it for the canned peaches that have been offered as prizes.
The law is the law, and Indiana law says card games like poker and euchre are considered gambling if played for money.
Sara Tait, executive director of the gaming commission, initially wouldn’t answer questions from The Star Press about the nature of the state’s action against the seniors group. “Our general practice is not to provide substantive comments for stories.”
When asked if the state did advise the senior center that the euchre games as they had been played had to end, Tait would only say, “The gaming commission received a complaint and contacted the center to educate them on the law.”
In a follow up story, Governor Mike Pence has chimed in, and says that he has no plans to shut down the lil’ old ladies nefarious activities.
The executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission said Monday the state “did not, and never had, any plans to take enforcement action” against a Muncie senior citizens group playing euchre in violation of state gaming laws.
And Gov. Mike Pence said through a spokesman Monday he not only had no plans to “shut down” the senior card games but would ask the gaming commission to “ensure common sense prevails” in its actions.
Nevertheless, last week’s contact from the state prompted euchre clubs at the Delaware County Senior Citizens Center to end the long-standing practice of pay-for-play and prizes at the three-times-weekly euchre games.
And the director of another Indiana senior center told The Star Press on Monday that prizes in her center’s euchre games were discontinued after similar concerns from the state.