ROCKAWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A group of senior citizens are outraged after they say they were banned from playing bingo.

Gloria Benedict told CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes that for 14 years, seniors played lunchtime bingo three days a week at Pleasant View Village Senior Home in Rockaway, N.J. But a few months ago, the Morris County Housing Authority, which runs the building, shut it down.

They say a disgruntled worker blew the whistle on their game.

The seniors insist they are far from big spenders and that one bingo card only costs 10 cents.

“It’s nickel-and-dime stuff. It’s not big gambling,” one resident said.

But as CBS 2 reported, it’s against New Jersey law to charge people anything to play without having a permit, which the seniors admit.

According to Consumer Affairs, without a bingo license, they can play if there’s no fee, no paid game operator and only a cheap prize.

But resident Ethel Rosenthal says what’s the fun in that? She said she applied for a permit seven weeks ago and is still waiting for the green light.

“Why are people doing this to us? We’re seniors!” she said.

CBS 2 spoke with Mary Ann De Costa, who said for some residents, playing bingo more than just a game.

“[It] made us want to look good, rather than mope around our apartments because there’s nothing to do,” she said.

As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, State Consumer Affairs wants everyone to know they did not take 10-cent bingo away from those at the senior complex.

“That’s not what we do,” Consumer Affairs Spokesman Neal Buccino said, adding that the law does allow for bingo games.

He says Consumer Affairs contacted the home after receiving an anonymous call regarding Pleasant View Village’s lunchtime bingo game that occurs three days a week while Meals On Wheels serves food on-site.

“We have not taken any action or given them any directives saying don’t do what you’re doing. We simply, in response to a phone call, we got in touch with them to explain what the law says,” Buccino said. “Our goal here is not to prevent anybody from having fun or anybody from enjoying a recreational bingo game.”

Calls made by CBS 2 to the Morris County Housing Authority have not yet been returned.

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