Portuguese Authorities Fine British and Irish Expats for Playing Bingo for Snacks


Credit: DAVID HOLT/wikimedia

Twenty-eight British and Irish expats and tourists were fined by officials in Portugal after playing bingo for drinks and what the British call biscuits. The British landlady who hosted the event at her bar was fined 700 euros and given a four-month suspended prison sentence. Authorities fined each of the 28 participants as well as some of the onlookers.

Portugal has strict gambling laws, which prohibit games of "luck and chance" being played at venues without proper authorization. Police acted on information from anonymous tippers, who evidently have a problem with consenting adults playing bingo for food and drink.

From the BBC:

Landlady Marianne Pittaway, from North Yorkshire, was fined 700 euros (£595) for hosting the game at The Yorkshire Tavern in Albufeira, on Friday night.

Ms Pittaway, 34, also received a four-month suspended prison sentence.

She said she was "still in shock" and that the country's regulations were "wrong in a lot of aspects".

Ms Pittaway, who has been in Portugal for eight years, said her bar would "definitely not" be staging bingo again following Friday's raid.

The 28 appeared in court in Albufeira earlier to face charges of "exploitation of illegal gambling, illegal gambling and witnessing illegal gambling", according to the police.

Even some of the people in the bar who were not playing bingo were fined 150 euros (£125) and given a three-month suspended sentence for "witnessing illegal gambling".

Organisers of bingo in Portugal have to apply for a government licence.

Portugal might be tolerant when it comes to drugs, having decriminalized the possession of all drugs in 2001, but when it comes to gambling Portuguese authorities are evidently not quite as tolerant.

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  1. Gamblesnacking ist verboten!

  2. Every country has a sin of choice

  3. Even some of the people in the bar who were not playing bingo were fined 150 euros (?125) and given a three-month suspended sentence for “witnessing illegal gambling”.

    Yay for thoughtcrime!

    1. Using that legal framework, they could arrest the entire internet. The mind, it boggles.

    2. What the flippity-fuck?

  4. Police acted on information from anonymous tippers…

    Find the a-holes who never got bingo and you found your snitches.

    1. Casino Estoril is fearing the competition!

    2. Probably someone who runs a licensed Bingo establishment and is afraid of the competition. If so he should go become a cabbie in LA, he’s obviously got the right mindset.

    3. I would start with the people in the bar who weren’t arrested. Were they people who knew the law and knew that witnessing a crime is itself a crime? Or just smug little self-righteous pricks?

      A police state doesn’t require a ton of police because usually at least one of your neighbors is a smug little self-righteous prick who is more than willing to be a tattletale. (Even moreso if it’s a crime not to be a tattletale.)

      I think that’s why we are taught early not to be a tattletale – it’s a shameful part of human nature to get a little thrill out of getting someone into trouble. You get to hurt someone for no good reason but you can do it with a pure heart and good conscience.

      1. Ahem!

        “If you SEE something, SAY something.”

        /busybody a-hole

  5. If that’s the punishment for witnessing illegal gambling, I’d hate to accidentally witness a mugging or murder in Portugal.

    1. And yet they still have far saner drug laws than the US

  6. Respect mah auhoritah, you damn Micks!

  7. On behalf of my people, I apologize.

  8. Fuck, it’s just Portugal. A tiny country who can’t even speak proper Portuguese. They’re sort of like the Limeys.

    There was some joke about them a few days ago going on between my wife and my daughter-in-law, who’s working in Lisbon right now. Something about shopping for a mattress. Apparently the Portuguese are especially rude, and no one would help her when she was trying to buy a mattress. They expected her, a 120 lb. woman, to carry this mattress out by herself. When she told them she couldn’t get it, they directed her to a department that does that for you, for 30 Euros. No delivery service at all, you have to rent a truck. There was more to it than that, but I didn’t catch it all.

    1. Can’t speak proper Portuguese? As opposed to the mongrel Brazilians? Jesus Christ, how many times can one say “Voce sabe” in one conversation?

      1. That’s like so elitist, you know?

        1. Yes, yes it is.

      2. 180 million Brazilians say you are wrong! Hah!

        And what Scruffy said below, Elitist snob!

        1. Look, if it makes you feel better I’ll concede Brazilian women are hotter than Portuguese women. I prefer my ladies to have less arm hair than I do.

          1. They’re hotter on average than Murikan wiminz. I’ve never been to Portugal yet, so can’t comment on that.

        2. Everybody know the only proper form of the Portuguese language is Equatorial Guinean.

          1. Even Fission Chips didn’t have the accent down right.

          2. They speak Spanish in Equatorial Guinea. You’re probably thinking of Guinea-Bissau.

      3. Everyone knows that true Portuguese is only spoken in Angola. Heathens.

        1. Actually, only in Bahia. Droga! Merda! Oshe! Saco!

          Fuck, I probably only spelled half of those words right, but I know what they sound like!

  9. Pretty sure I drank in this lady’s establishment a couple years ago. I was definitely in Albufeira and I definitely stopped in a tavern with a British owner. Maybe I’m conflating them.

  10. *crosses Portugal off list of potential expatriation destinations*

    Too bad, considering their drug decriminalization.

    1. Azores would be cool though, I’m hoping to go soon.

    2. I don’t see myself leaving the US unless shit really hits the fan, but if I do, I’m really feeling Chile

      1. You’ll feel those magnitude 9 temblors also, when they hit (;. I’ll be in Brazil if you need refuge from the coming Tsunami.

        I want to visit there. My wife really has high regards for the country. I think they have a better POTUS than us, there is that anyway. Plus from what I hear, Santiago is really cheap if you have some dollars.

        1. What about the megatsunami from the Canary Islands landslip?

          1. What about it?

        2. I’ve lived in California my entire life, so I’m used to the threat of earthquakes

  11. This is boring. Who started the Tiny Tina Assault on Dragon Keep DLC yesterday? It’s hard. I got up to Mr. Torgue being the gatekeeper to the forest. BECAUSE – ANSWERS!!!

    1. I need a gamesplanation for this nonsensical garble.

    2. I got killed by a couple goddamn golems and then went to bed. Mr. Torgue, you say? Well, fuck eating and sleeping for the next few days, I have work to do.

      1. The very first skeleton archer that hit me blew out my 18,000+ point shield. I didn’t expect that. And the one golem I took on, I blew the shit out of it with a rocket launcher before it got near me. Though it took like 6 or 7 shots with a 38,000×3 launcher to do it.

        I need to spend some more Golden Keys.

        1. I blew 4 golden keys today and only got shit pistols and shields.

          FUCK YOU B2.

          1. I have 61 Golden Keys so I’m not going to get too upset over a few shitty results. As long as I get a retarded corrosive SMG. That’s all I’m asking. And maybe a retarded shield. That’s all. Plus maybe a crazy relic.

            1. How did you get 61 Golden Keys?

        2. faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaags!


    3. I just got to the Hunter’s Grotto and am getting my ass handed to me, so it will be a while before I get to that one.

      1. The Hammerlock DLC is a serious grind (and I’m worried that the Tiny Tina one will be too). The XP and the drops are great–I must have leveled up a few times while playing it–but the fucking Witch Doctors are a massive pain in the ass, and Vampire Witch Doctors are basically impossible to kill. I almost killed one once but he whipped out his life-drain beam that even goes through rocks and walls and he recovered.

        1. It’s getting to be a grind, even as a level 50 gunzerker. I thought it was looking better than Hammerlock, but I’m just going over the same ground over and over and over and over. Just. Like. Hammerlock.

          If you have a solid 8 hours to play, you might make some decent progress. But if you quit at any time, why, hello dozens of monsters I’ve already killed 3 or 4 times already.

          FUCK YOU.

          1. hello dozens of monsters I’ve already killed 3 or 4 times already.

            Ugh. I haven’t gotten into the Borderlands craze but was thinking of giving it a shot until I read that. I fucking hate it when games pull that shit.

    4. Stop. Please. I do NOT need to pick that game back up.

    5. I played the delightful trailer to my son a couple days ago.

      “This place smells vaguely of asses and death” has become one his new catchphrases.

    6. I was up at 3am this morning playing Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. It’s pretty awesome for a 7 year old game.

      1. I used mods to get Baldur’s Gate to run on the BG2 engine, link them together in one uniform playthrough, all expansions, bug fixes, and stricter adherence to the AD&D set.

        Still no fix for the isometric, non-rotating camera. At least I’ll be ready for Shadowrun Returns next month.

        1. I did all of that also, and I own all of those games, Icewind Dale, NWK, all of those, planescape torment also. I can’t get into playing them anymore though cause of the isometric view.

          I like Dark Messiah because it’s first person. The combat is actually pretty awesome and at 1920×1080, it looks decent enough.

    7. I just started playing Borderlands 2 about three weeks ago because it was dirt cheap on Steam and I heard it was great (which turned out to be very true). Am I going to get anywhere if I just solo the game at my very casual, 1 – 2 hours per night pace or should I just give up now?

      1. I have only been able to play a few hours a week since it came out, and I’m at level 43 going on 44, so you should be fine. You can get many, many hours of gameplay out of it, especially if you do the DLCs (buy a season pass, it makes more sense). I have only played solo, too, so that’s not an impediment, though my friends who play co-op say the loot and XP generation is fantastic.

      2. The good news is that you have roughly ten years of play ahead of you.

  12. Four month (suspended) sentence? What is happening to Western Democracy?

    1. smooches!

      they really shouldn’t have suspended the sentence. the law is the law, and she’s been there for 8 years so she should have known. suspending the sentence is the issue I have with western democracy.

      I was running down a kid in an alley the other night and thought about how bingo is a gateway game. so I think the portuguese have it about right. case law backs up their actions – it was a good fining. hth

  13. You know, I think if we changed the penalty for violent/property crimes from prison sentences to heavy fines, we would see a renewed interest in policing those instead of enforcing these piddly vice laws against law-abiding people.

    1. Your problem, Hugh, is you’re too smart for this job.

      Adam Carolla told an anecdote about it being like pulling teeth to get the police to respond to a car crashing through his yard (or something) and the inherent inefficiencies of government in that realm. Then juxtaposed it with a story about a friend of his that was moving to Massachusetts and accidentally went through an electronic toll lane without a card.

      A few months later, he got a letter at his new address in Mass, demanding payment of $2.45.

      Think about that. State government was literally able to track a car down with California plates, discover its final destination literally on the other side of the country, find the new address (not even known by the person moving at the time of the violation) and get a letter demanding payment on a sum not worth the time and effort of putting a stamp on the letter.

      You’re so right. Make this shit about money, and government will become the crack efficient entity only Hitler could dream of.

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