Altamonte Springs, Florida - Four elderly ladies were playing a peaceful game of mahjong in their private Escondido Condominium clubhouse in Altamonte Springs, Florida, when a nosy neighbor called in a police raid citing illegal gambling, breaking up the gobsmacked grandmas.
The four ladies, Lee Delnick, Bernice Diamond, Helen Greenspan and Zelda King, ranging in ages from 87 to 95, peacefully were evicted from their table.
The police not only ousted the gaming ladies, apparently they returned to the premisis repeatedly throughout the week to further enforce the shut-down to ensure no mahjong games resumed... until, as it turns out, the ladies were well within their rights all along, and the nosy neighbor perhaps should butt out of their business.
As it turned out, there was no such ordinance barring the practice of playing mahjong for small amounts of money in the first place, that the nosy neighbor was out of bounds, and the police acted too quickly to shutdown the clubhouse.
Florida Gambling Laws Statute 849.085 states: “Certain penny-ante games are not crimes; ‘Penny-ante game’ means a game or series of games of poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, or mahjong in which the winnings of any player in a single round, hand, or game do not exceed $10 in value.” The women were playing with a $4 limit, well within the legal parameters.
Reportedly the police had issued an apology to the condominium and players.