Certain countries in the world have very strict laws when it comes to all types of gaming. Online poker in America for instance has certainly attracted its fair share of attention over the last couple of years, but did you know that Portugal have even more stringent gaming laws. Last week a bar in Portugal was raided for holding a non-profitable bingo night, a night that saw the winners walk away with a box of biscuits or a box of chocolates, that is until the night was raided by the Portuguese Police Force.
The Yorkshire Tavern in Albufeira was raided by undercover Police with the participants arrested and taken to the local Police Station. Landlady Marianne Pittaway said, “They rounded us all up like a bunch of gangsters at about 11pm. It was 3am by the time they let us all go.”
Gerald Platt was one of the winners, winning a box of biscuits and a bar of chocolate. He said, “I put them on the floor and was going for the full house when the microphone went quiet and plain-clothes police started going from table to table. One officer asked me to write out my name on the back of my bingo card. He put that and the pen in a plastic bag, sealed it up and took it away as evidence.”
The court hearing took place yesterday and Marianne Pittaway was fined £595 and given a four month suspended jail sentence for organising the bingo nights. She said, “We know the laws on gambling for money in Portugal, but no profit was being made from our bingo nights. All the proceeds went into buying prizes for the following week’s game and buying the bingo cards. All we were doing was providing entertainment for people. We understand officers had come into the bar during previous games and not said anything. They could easily have given us a warning.”
If anyone wishes to hold a raffle or bingo of any sort in Portugal a licence is required from the Government. Illegal gaming is illegal gaming at the end of the day, but are a few games of bingo for British holiday makers really infringing local laws?