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The Secret Life Of A Bookie

Not All the Big Bets Are on Wall Street
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
James Woods, May/Jun 97

(continued from page 12)

CA: Do you go to jail, do you get fined, what happens?

Pete: You usually go to jail, and with the amount of the other crimes that they are involved in, you'll wait. You usually spend a day, and then you're bailed out. The bail is small and you get a court date. You go in, you plead guilty and you get a misdemeanor.

CA: That's it?

Pete: That's it.

CA: Then it's back to business as usual?

Pete: Yeah.

CA: When I was raised in New Haven, Connecticut--this goes back 40 years--I lived next door to a guy whose name was Kowalski. Does that name ring a bell?

Pete: Yes.

CA: And about once every year, three or four police cars would race up the street and drive up on his lawn. They'd break down the door and charge into the house. His son used to tell me that the father would take all the betting slips when he heard the commotion and flush them down the toilet. And if he was able to get all of the paper into the toilet in time, they couldn't touch him.

Pete: That's right. Back then, they also used rice paper that they'd light up, and it was gone in a poof.

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