RARA-AVIS: The numbers game

E J M Duggan (ejmd@mcmail.com)
Sun, 15 Mar 1998 11:45:09 -0800 On Sat, 14 Mar 1998, William Denton <buff@vex.net> wrote:

> Speaking of gambling, can someone explain the numbers racket to me?
> Did people really just pick a number and wait for someone, somewhere,
> to tell them that their number had won? It sounds even stupider than
> slot machines.

I have a dictionary definition of the numbers game:

numbers game _or_ racket n. US An illegal lottery in
which money is wagered on a certain combination of
digits appearing at the beginnnig of a series of numbers
published in a newspaper, as in share prices or sports
results. Often shortened to numbers.

Collins English Dictionary,
third edition, updated (HarperCollins: Glasgow, 1994).

Eddie Duggan

BTW, Kathy, thanks for the answer to 'stuss games'---the same dictionary
tells me faro is 'a gambling game in which players bet against the
dealer on what cards he will turn up. [C18: probably spelling variant of

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