Re: RARA-AVIS: The numbers game

James Rogers (
Sun, 15 Mar 1998 10:52:32 -0600 (CST) At 11:45 AM 3/15/98 -0800, you wrote:
>On Sat, 14 Mar 1998, William Denton <> 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.

Here it is, described under it's other name of "Policy"

"The game itself is probably the simplest form of gambling
yet invented. If you want to play all you do is select three digits - say
547- and bet anything from a penny (though the lowest total bet must be a
dime) to $100.00. The winning number is based on a complicated formula
geared to the money bet that day at the nearest race track. The pay-off is
huge - 600 to 1.
Even bets on a single number - called "single action" - pay off 8 to 1.
You specify where a number wil turn up in the winning combination. Seven,
say , to come in last, as in 547.
The reason why the game is so widely played are the vast odds and the
ease with which you can play a number. All you have to do is push the
elevator button; nine times out of ten the elevator operator is your local
runner. Buy a pound of butter and play a number. There are few stores in
Harlem which do not take numbers. Walk downstairs for a breath of air - the
kid on the steps will take your number to the runner who makes his stand at
the corner."

From Horan, _The Mob's Man_ , 1959.

James Michael Rogers

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