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Portugal fines 28 for playing bingo for cookies and drinks

  |   June 25, 2013 at 3:01 PM
ALBUFEIRA, Portugal, June 25 (UPI) -- A group of 28 British and Irish expatriates and vacationers in Portugal said they were fined for playing an unlicensed game of bingo for cookies and drinks.

Marianne Pittaway, 34, a former North Yorkshire, England, resident and owner of The Yorkshire Tavern in Albufeira, said she was fined $915 and sentenced a four-month suspended prison term for hosting the Friday night game for British and Irish expats and vacationers at the tavern, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Pittaway said she was "still in shock" about her arrest and considers Portuguese authorities to be "wrong in a lot of aspects" as a result of the incident.

"I put on the bingo for some entertainment and a bit of fun. We were only playing for some biscuits and drinks," Pittaway said. "One minute we were all playing, having a bit of fun and then we were just bundled off in three police vans and taken to the police station."

She said all of the bingo players were fined and some other customers at the tavern were slapped with smaller fines for "witnessing illegal gambling."

Authorities said a license is required for bingo games in the country.

It said officers found people were playing "games of luck and chance" outside an authorised place.

Portuguese police, Faro GNR, released a statement saying "information reported by anonymous citizens" led to the arrests for playing "games of luck and chance" outside an authorized place.

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