The Indiana Gaming Commission is cracking down on illegal gambling, and they’ve focused their sights on the state’s elderly high-rollers.
The commission contacted officials at the Delaware County Senior Citizens Center where senior citizens have been breaking Indiana law for years by playing euchre for canned peaches and packs of toilet paper, the Muncie Star Press reports.
The news site reports a core group of about 50 euchre players have convened regularly for games of euchre and bingo at the former Forest Park school for decades. Each player kicks in $2.50 to play, $1 of which goes to the senior center, and the rest is used to buy prizes for the winners.
Senior center director Judy Elton said the euchre club donates about $30 each time they rent space at the facility.
“We’re not talking about a great deal of money here,” she told the news site.
But on July 13, “someone called (the state) and was concerned” with the illegal gambling, Elton said.
“If you pay to play and win prizes, that’s considered gambling,” Elton said. “We thought that only applied to cash prizes. These people win a pack of toilet paper or a can of peaches.”
State officials wouldn’t discuss the case. Gaming commission executive director Sara Tait told the Star Press “the gaming commission received a complaint and contacted the center to educate them on the law,” but declined further comment.
Wilson, who has played euchre with friends at the center for 15 years, explained that the euchre is more about fellowship than gambling, the Associated Press reports.
“We play five games and we have snacks, then play five more games,” she said. “Whoever has the high score gets to come up and pick a prize. We use the money to buy the prizes and we buy sympathy cards or go out to dinner if there’s money left.
“We all get our money back,” Wilson said.
Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold told the Star Press he was unaware of the senior center gambling, but doesn’t “consider that to be real egregious.”
“I haven’t heard a thing about this,” he said. “I hope there is a way they can get a proper license to continue to play.”