You couldn’t make it up. Surely one of the nastiest events you could think of is that a council Jobsworth intervenes in a friendly game of bingo for a small cash prize among care home residents. Well, look no further than Redditch Borough Council and imagine the zeal as one of its Jobsworths descended on Harry Taylor House, a care home for elderly people, and told them to stop playing bingo for cash prizes.
The council said the customary game at Harry Taylor House of residents staking £1 each making up a pot that formed a prize was contrary to the Gambling Act 2005. Residents have protested that the game was harmless entertainment given the small sums involved.
A council spokesperson said “We can confirm that we have not cancelled any social gatherings at Harry Taylor House and appreciate that this is a long standing tradition for many of the residents which we would not wish to negate. What we have asked is that residents do not play bingo for cash prizes as they may not be conforming to the law. The Gambling Act 2005 makes it very clear that you cannot charge for participation in the game and that in turn the prizes cannot be made up of moneys paid to participate”.
The council said it had made contact with a number of groups with similar games and “unfortunately some have decided not to continue as a result, even though they can still play for fun”.
Mentioning the word “fun” with Redditch Borough Council gives a new meaning to the phrase “power and popularity are not synonymous”. What does a “stop pensioners gambling at bingo” officer earn at Redditch? Too much!