British expats arrested for playing bingo in Portuguese pub

Published:  26 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, England
At least 30 British expats and tourists were arrested In Portugal on suspicion of breaking the country’s strict anti-gambling laws.

The expat landlady of Albufiera’s Yorkshire Tavern and her Portuguese partner had organised the weekly bingo nights for regulars and visitors and purchased boxes of biscuits and large bars of chocolate as prizes. Other regulars were watching a rugby match in another part of the bar.

As the biscuits and chocolate were being handed out to the winners, police posing as customers and two detectives flashing their ID stopped the game and called in a posse of uniformed Portuguese police officers. All those playing the game were arrested for gambling, and those watching the rugby were also arrested for observing a crime.

According to Marianne Pittaway, the Yorkshire tavern’s landlady, the police rounded everyone up like a bunch of mafiosos at around 23:00, and it was 03:00 by the time they were let go. Six of the customers who were arrested have since returned to the UK, and the rest including the landlord and landlady may face fines ranging from $1300 to £8500 for offences under Portugal’s strict anti-gambling laws.

The law states that raffle or bingo nights must have a one-off government license for the activity, although Marianne told reporters that she believed bingo was only illegal if cash prizes were on offer. She added that, when the police raid began, she realised that several of her new customers over the last two weeks had been undercover police casing the joint.

One of the arrested, expat and bingo winner Gerald Platt, was unhappy when the police confiscated his box of biscuits, but managed to hide the chocolate under the table. He shared it with the rest of the unfortunates on the bus to the police station, but said that some refused as they were worried they’d be in worse trouble if they ate the evidence.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Michael wrote 6 years ago:

Expats always have to be up for an adventure and the unexpected ones are the best. Cheers,

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