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"policy or numbers racket" Options
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 6:51:03 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
Posts: 217
Neurons: 1,138
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Hello!

This is from "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo:

In 1933 he sent emissaries to the man who controlled all the gambling

activities of Manhattan, the crap games on the docks, the shylocking that went with it as

hot dogs go with baseball games, the bookmaking on sports and horses, the illicit

gambling houses that ran poker games, the policy or numbers racket of Harlem.


I don't understand "the policy or numbers racket of Harlem". I know racket from Russia's experience in 1990sAngel , but what do policy and numbers do with it?

Many thanks!

Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:04:36 AM

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Joined: 9/21/2009
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Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland


http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/numbers+racket


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Kirill Vorobyov
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:19:20 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/4/2016
Posts: 217
Neurons: 1,138
Location: Moscow, Moscow, Russia
Wow, what an interesting stuff.
Thanks a lot for the link, JJ!
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:20:32 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 26,418
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
A "numbers racket" is an illegal betting-game of some sort, which gives a small win to a few betters, and a huge profit for the organisers.

Noun 1. numbers racket - an illegal daily lottery
numbers game, numbers pool, numbers lottery
chances and prizes are distributed by casting lots

Farlex Wordnet

numbers game or numbers racket n
(Gambling) US - an illegal lottery in which money is wagered on a certain combination of digits appearing at the beginning of a series of numbers published in a newspaper, as in share prices or sports results.
Collins English Dictionary

What Is The Policy Racket?

One of the biggest money making operations regarding illegal lotteries was the policy racket. It was also called the numbers racket, the numbers game, or simply playing the numbers. This poor man's lottery operated primarily in poor Black, Latino, and Italian neighborhoods from the late 1890's well into the 1960s.

Some cities that were major cogs in the policy racket were New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta just to name a few.

The game itself consisted of a player picking any three digit number from 0 to 999. The odds were about a 1000 to 1 against winning while the pay off might be anywhere from 600 and 800 to 1 for a winner. Bets were generally a nickel or a dime, but any amount was acceptable even that as small as a single cent.

Hub Pages

Nowadays, it's called "Lotto", "Euromillions", and so on.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
thar
Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 9:55:25 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 15,432
Neurons: 61,504
The numbers racket is the mainstay of every black-and-white American gangster movie I have ever seen.
I think I remember the term 'policy' from a more serious film about the insidious nature of crime and corruption.


I am more surprised you didn't need to ask about shylocking, or crap games!

I still have no idea what craps really is, beyond dice. Despite in-depth research from viewing Guys and Dolls. :) (Or is even that something different?)
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