Palma police had acted against those running shell games. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

A court in Palma has ruled that the shell game is not a crime and has dismissed legal proceedings against 31 individuals who had either been arrested by Palma police or were under investigation.

While accepting that the game does trick players, the judge has stated that this tricking isn't sufficient for it to be treated as an illegal game that is carried out on the public way and in which the players take part voluntarily and accept the risk.

The judge has advised courts that have been presented with cases to apply this criterion, these cases having arisen following "dubious" investigation by the police in Playa de Palma between February and April.

The police for their part are surprised by the ruling and also indignant at it.