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Snohomish overturns gambling ban for nonprofits such as senior center
SNOHOMISH - Nonprofits such as the Snohomish Senior Center can let people play cards for small wagers again.
The City Council approved an ordinance amendment at its Feb. 18 meeting that lets nonprofit organizations in the city host social card games inside their buildings. The ordinance took effect earlier this week.
The issue first came to light several weeks ago, when the council voted to ban social card games for money in early January. The ripple effect caused great concern from the Snohomish Senior Center, whose members bet on poker and pinochle with nickels and dimes.
The council then created an exception for nonprofits to keep playing while it deliberated what to do next.
A state Gambling Commission special agent offered the City Council a model to let nonprofits play wager games.
Agent Bill Kesel said Snohomish could model Lake Forest Park, which banned all gambling, then repealed it to allow nonprofits in the city limits, in their case the Elks, to gamble. The Snohomish Senior Center is a non-profit organization.
Senior center director Bob Dvorak told the City Council the games are more than just about small bets. Dvorak said the games provided both a social and cognitive benefit by letting seniors meet with their friends. It helped them in their health and well-being so it was a little more than just being able to play for nickels and dimes.


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