Part of the controversy of online gambling is the potential rise in crime. Many legislators are worried that the increase of online gambling will bring problems for the communities that they are ill equipped to manage. One issue occurred recently involving elderly citizens participating in gatherings at the Twin Falls Senior Center in the state of Idaho. It all began with an innocuous poker game played by citizens in their retirement years. Mostly it was another social gathering in which the gamers were able to socialize and have some fun. Unfortunately, they were quickly thwarted in their activities by local police.
The senior citizens came to the Twin Falls Senior Center with $20 to enter the game. It has happened for months now and was a welcomed change in the normal ritual. The growing popularity of the game may have been what eventually brought about its demise. The reality is that gambling in the state of Idaho is illegal and that includes small games held at senior centers. Fortunately the seniors were given the opportunity to change their ways by heeding the warning given to them by the local police department. Many weren’t happy about the change though.
The seniors participating saw the games as a dual advantage. First, they were able to get out of their homes and socialize. The activity is exciting and allowed them a change from their normal routine. Secondly, it also allowed them to reap the benefits of wagering and winning. The $20 buy-in created a good pot and the lucky winners walked away with a great payout of additional money for the week. Many tried to argue with local police stating that the game was merely a “friendly” one, but the law is the law. Idaho statues hold that gambling is defined as any money-generating risk that involves crediting anything of value to players. Though the seniors had been participating in the games for over five years, an anonymous tip was their eventual downfall. It will be sorely missed by the participants, but the law dictates that they need to cease and desist with their games until Idaho law changes.