So what do all those numbers in a so-called numbers-running racket mean, anyway?
Michael Wilson writes on crimes in the city.
On Saturday, the Crime Scene column reported the arrests of two people in East Harlem who were accused of running numbers, an age-old sort of illegal neighborhood lottery. Bettors choose three-digit numbers and wager that they will match a prearranged result appearing in horse-racing reports later that day.
The column included a copy of a betting slip seized the day of the arrests, March 13. There were several numbers scratched on the slip without explanation. Here is how the police explained it:
The bettor appears to be placing two wagers on the “New York number,” hence the “N.Y.” at the top of the slip. It was formerly known as the Manhattan number or the “357,” and is not to be confused with the “Brooklyn number.” The winning New York number is usually based on payoffs following the third, fifth and seventh races at the New York track operating that day.
The bettor’s two numbers are 226 and 310. For the first number, the bettor bet $1.50 that the number 226 would win, and placed a combination, or “boxed,” bet of another $1.50 that those digits will appear in any order, like 262 or 622. For the second number, 310, the bet is $1.10 for a straight win and 90 cents for a combination. The total appears below, $5.
The date speaks for itself, but the stamped version is the mark of the numbers joint that day, to prove authenticity if the bettor wins.
But no one won that day. It was the day of the police raid.