A group of senior citizens have stopped playing euchre after the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) said that they are breaking the state’s gambling law.
A 50-person club gathers two or three days a week to play euchre at the Delaware County Senior Citizens Center, where players put in $2.50 and could win a can of peaches or a pack of cookies or toilet paper.
But because they pay a couple of bucks to play and take home prizes, they’re breaking Indiana law — and state officials have ordered an end to the illegal gambling.
Director of the Delaware County Senior Citizens Center Judy Elton said that IGC contacted her early last week, asking the center to 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.”
Republican Gov. Mike Pence became aware of the situation and demanded that the IGC not take enforcement action against the center or even plan to shut down euchre games. Pence also asked the IGC to review its procedures to ensure common sense prevails when reviewing complaints and concerns.
The IGC clarified that this type of card game was not really what they had in mind for a crackdown on informal gambling venues.
“Card games like these are very similar to developing a Final Four bracket or $5 poker night with friends. The Indiana Gaming Commission uses a common sense litmus test and did not, and never had, any plans to take enforcement action against this euchre club,” said Executive Director of the Indiana Gaming Commission Sara Tait.
“We responded to a complaint from a member of two euchre card clubs regarding mishandling of funds at one of the clubs utilizing a senior center for gaming. Consistent with our goal of educating organizations about charity gaming compliance, the organizations were sent a form email with information about the kinds of licenses available. We distribute regularly such email information following the receipt of a complaint. As is consistent with our practice in such matters, once the Indiana Gaming Commission sent the email, there was no intention to address this further and no additional communication, as expending resources on such minor issues is not consistent with Commission priorities.”