A once-a-week game of Mahjong enjoyed by a group of elderly women in Florida was busted by police for illegal gambling charges, according to a columnist from The Huffington Post. Apparently, the game only had a daily "loss limit" of just $4.
The games held at the Escondido Condominium clubhouse right outside of Orlando were then shut down by the management. Also, the bingo and poker games being held at the complex were suspended as well.
Fortunately for these elderly women who are in their mid to late 80s, the police concluded that their games did not violate any state gambling laws due to the fact that the stakes were very low. It is not considered a crime to host games in which the stakes are below $10. It was stated that "Certain penny-ante games are not crimes; ‘Penny-ante game' means a game or series of games of poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, or mahjong in which the winnings of any player in a single round, hand, or game do not exceed $10 in value." With that, the games will definitely resume again.
Even so, this particular incident irritated members of the game. The elderly ladies were Jews, and playing Mahjong is actually a deeply-rooted tradition and favorite pastime amongst them that the incident had even been published in an Israel newspaper, The Times of Israel.
A male resident complained of the activities and informed the police that gambling was involved. The elderly organizer of the weekly Mahjong game stated that this resident who ratted them out is actually a "troublemaker" who has complained of various condo issues in the past. However, in the spirit of the season, she decided not to name him.
As of the moment, the games will resume Thursday after Thanksgiving.