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Mob's Daily Number: Organized Crime and the Numbers Gambling Industry

NCJ Number
Don Liddick
Date Published
201 pages
Numbers gambling is a type of illegal lottery very similar to the daily lottery drawings held in many States; unlike State lotteries, however, money generated in the illegal numbers game is not funneled to public projects but rather to criminal organizations and corrupt public officials.
In illegal numbers gambling, bettors essentially wager relatively small sums of money, usually a dollar or less, on a three-digit number, with payout rates typically 500:1 or 600:1. Although it is not possible to calculate the total volume of revenue generated annually in the numbers industry, the widely quoted figure of $500 million yearly in New York City suggests illegal numbers gambling is a multi-billion dollar industry. The nature of the numbers gambling industry is comprehensively examined, and major theoretical perspectives on organized crime are offered by applying the findings on numbers gambling to different theoretical frameworks. The history of early lotteries and the development of numbers gambling are reviewed. The structure and functioning of numbers gambling are described, as well as the impact of numbers gambling on communities. Social characteristics of numbers workers, the link between numbers gambling and organized crime, and numbers gambling operations in New York City between 1960 and 1969 are discussed. Notes, tables, and figures