Snohomish City Council bans senior center's nickel, dime card table events

SNOHOMISH -- A group of seniors who played poker for quarters and dimes were recently given a cease and desist warning from the state Gambling Commission, informing them what they were doing was illegal and needed to stop, the Everett Herald reported.

According to the Herald, many of the 650 seniors who regularly attend the Snohomish Senior Center enjoyed playing poker, bridge, pinochle and other card games for small amounts of cash. However, after the Snohomish City Council banned all social card playing games in 2009, their games became illegal.

Yet they continued to play until they were given a warning letter by the gambling commission in December.

In January, a few members of the city council attempted to give seniors an exemption, allowing them to continue to play cards. The exemption was voted down, the Herald said, but modified to allow nonprofits to play card games in leased or owned spaces until April 30.

Seniors told the Herald they have started to play for chips, but that's "not as much fun."

"They're sometimes as dumb as a box of rocks," poker player Don Ness, 84, told the Herald about the city council. "I think it's ridiculous."

People are still calling for the ban to be permanently lifted. The Snohomish city council plans to again discuss the situation Tuesday night.

"They oughta do something about it and let us play," 94-year-old Herb Courtney told the Herald.