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Gambling Charges Dropped Against 40 Elderly Women in Cyprus

Cyprus’ attorney general has dropped gambling charges against 42 elderly women, including a 98-year-old, whose weekly poker-and-bridge party had been raided by police. Police confiscated €100 during the raid. The raid triggering shock and disbelief in the public.

Online gambling is legal in Cyprus, but not small card games!

The women, mostly in their 70s, had became a local cause celebre after receiving a court summons this week. Interviews with 98-year-old Eftychia Yiasemidou appeared in several media outlets. Two of the women have since died and another two are in a nursing home.

A daughter of one of the women told the media that most of the women were amused by the affair.

An assistant for Attorney General Petros Clerides said Friday the official had been unaware of the case and only found out about it through media reports.

Gambling in Cyprus is punishable by up to six months in jail or a €750 ($1,000) fine. By contrast, online gambling, an industry with an estimated annual turnover of more than €1bn, is unregulated although lawmakers plan to introduce legislation next month.

According to current Cyprus law, the 42 elderly women could legally sit together and gamble unlimited amounts online but it is illegal to place small bets at a card game among friends.

OCA News Editor