Irish among pensioners hauled before Portuguese court for 'illegal bingo'

The Department of Foreign Affairs says it's been in contact with a group of pensioners in Portugal, who have appeared in court for playing illegal bingo.

The DFA says it can't comment on individual cases, but confirms members of the mixed nationality group have been promised further assistance, should they need it.

Twenty-eight tourists agreed to present themselves before court after Portugese police raided a fun bingo game at The Yorkshire Tavern in Albufeira last Friday.

They were charged with exploitation, illegal gambling and witnessing illegal gambling - because they were playing for biscuits and drinks, though the pub wasn't licensed.

Some were given three-month suspended sentences and fined €300 for participating - others were fined €150 just for watching the game.

“What kind of image does this give Portugal?" one Irish holiday-home was quoted as saying by The Portugal News.

“I wasn’t even playing bingo and I was arrested. I was just about to finish my drink and go home. It was excessive. It will make people scared to go in bars now," the Dubliner said.

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