Florida cops bust up elderly women’s mahjong games after ‘troublemaker’ snitches on them for gambling
A “troublemaker” ratted out four elderly women who wagered money during daily mahjong games at their Florida retirement community.
Another resident lodged a complaint with state authorities about gambling — including penny-ante poker, $5 bingo nights and mahjong games — at the Escondido Condominium retirement community in Altamonte Springs, reported the Heritage Florida Jewish News.
Four women, who are all between the ages of 87 and 95, spent hours playing daily mahjong games for small amounts of money at a table near the swimming pool.
“My neurologist, Dr. Oppenheim, said it’s very good for the brain,” said Zelda King, who’s played the game for about seven decades.
A detective investigating the complaint found a leaflet taped to the clubhouse door advertising Friday night “horse racing” — which uses dice to simulate races — and advising players to bring small bills.
Police showed the condominium board Florida’s gambling statute, which permits wagering up to $10 on cards and other games of chance but forbids advertising those games.
Investigators did not charge or arrest anyone in connection with the small-stakes games and apologized for the intrusion, but the condo board was spooked by the visit and closed the clubhouse to any games that can be gambled on.
That includes the elderly women’s mahjong games and penny-ante poker games played by some men who live there.
King said she knows who filed the complaint, and she described that neighbor as troublemaker.
“This is ridiculous,” King said. “We haven’t played in the clubhouse for weeks! We have to go to each other’s homes to play and not everyone lives in Escondido. It is an international game and we are being crucified.”
King said the investigation gave the women a good laugh, but she worried the clubhouse ban might keep the group from getting together.
“It’s hard to keep a group like this together,” she said. “Someone’s always got to go to the doctor, someone’s always sick. We’re all old — we’re all on the brink.”