Police Raid Bingo Game

Police Raid Bingo GameA group of British vacationers and expats have run afoul of the law in Portugal over a bingo game. The patrons at the Yorkshire Club in the Portuguese resort of Albufeira are facing hefty fines and criminal charges after police stages a dramatic raid to stop “illegal gambling.” The pub was opened by Marianne Pittaway, 34, after she left her home in York and moved to Portugal. The pub had been visited by two plain clothes detectives posing as customers.

The bingo games were not for money but that didn’t make any difference to puritanical police. When a container of biscuits and chocolate were handed out as prizes during Friday Night’s bingo games the detectives flashed their police badges and arrested players and non-players alike. They called in a dozen officers to transport the bingo prisoners. Thirty people in the pub including Ms. Pittaway, her partner Antonio Cardoso and several people that had not been playing bingo were taken to a police station and interrogated for several hours.

Some were set free and allowed to return to the UK but 27 ex-pats and vacationers were forced to attend court proceedings and faced charges of “witnessing illegal gambling.” Gambling laws in Portugal require bingo operators to apply for a license or face fines of between £1,300 and £8,500! Ms. Pittaway said she took 50 euros to cover the cost of the prizes and didn’t thing she was doing anything wrong since she did not award cash prizes to the winners. Pittaway told the Yorkshire Post “I was providing entertainment for my customers. Bingo is a big part of British culture. We are just doing it for fun so I don’t see that we are doing anything wrong. Everyone is in good spirits but we are all mortified because of what has happened. Two police came up to the counter and detained everyone at the bar, including people who weren’t even playing bingo. They could have just shut the bar and taken me and Antonio but it was everyone.”

Police said the raid was part of an ongoing police action to crack down on illegal gambling in the area. A spokesman for the police told the Portugal News “Those who were involved were participating in a game of ‘luck and chance’ and were arrested. They were taken to Albufeira police station and notified to appear in court.” He said the pub patrons were only questioned and not held in cells and added “It is not the first time action has been carried out against illegal gambling and it won’t be the last.” Ms. Pittaway said she made no profits from the games and stated “At the end of the day I will just stick to doing a normal quiz. I won’t be doing bingo any more. The way I see it is that they don’t want tourism and are making it very difficult for people to comply with all the rules and regulations. We don’t know what is in or out. I am just lucky I have got the ex-pat trade that is what is keeping me going. I love what I am doing but the consequences of today will come down very hard. It is not only the fine but I will get inspections left, right and centre now.”

Online Bingo Reviews

Subscribe for Newsletter

We respect your email privacy
Read our privacy policy
Protected by Copyscape Original Content Checker
Visit Us On Twitter