MUNCIE, Ind. – Indiana is forcing a senior center to stop offering prizes for card games in which residents pay a few dollars to play, saying the packages of cookies or toilet paper offered to winners makes the euchre games gambling.
Judy Elton, director of the Delaware County Senior Citizens Center in Muncie, said the Indiana Gaming Commission contacted her early last week. She said the center will comply with state law and stop offering prizes.
"Someone called (the state) and was concerned," Elton said. "If you pay to play and win prizes, that's considered gambling. We thought that only applied to cash prizes. These people only win a pack of toilet paper or a can of peaches."
The agency reached out to the center to educate officials about the law after receiving a complaint, Sara Tait, executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, told The (Muncie) Star Press (http://tspne.ws/1RHGVQz ).
Elton and members of the center's board are concerned about the loss of revenue it received from about 50 euchre players. The center was given about $1 of the $2.50 fee collected by the euchre club, Elton said, adding that it usually pulls in about $30 for a three-hour session.
"We're not talking about a great deal of money here," she said.
Some senior citizens are also upset.
Berylda Wilson, 88, has enjoyed playing euchre with her friends at the center for 15 years.
"We play five games and we have snacks, then play five more games," Wilson said. "Whoever has the high score gets to come up and pick a prize. We use the money to buy the prizes with and we buy sympathy cards or go out to dinner if there's money left. We all get our money back."
Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold said he wasn't aware of the commission's contact with the senior center and that he doesn't consider the center's euchre games to be "real egregious."
"I hope there is a way they can get a proper license to continue to play," he said.
Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com