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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 13)

CA: How do your clerks validate a bet, and how do you protect yourself from people calling in saying, "I didn't bet Dallas, I bet Pittsburgh"?

Pete: Every conversation is recorded.

CA: So when a customer places a bet, the clerk will say a code name and give the amount he's betting and put it on a Dictaphone tape or something?

Pete: No, the whole call is taped, and the tape runs constantly. We use a hunt system, and whenever a phone is picked up, it's automatically recorded.

CA: Are there ever problems or mistakes where for whatever reason there is a misunderstanding? Is that a common thing or a rare thing?

Pete: A rare thing, but it does happen on both [sides]. Customers have made mistakes and so have we. The problems always seem to be rectified when you deal with reputable people.

CA: Do the clerks have certain customers, or do they just answer the phone?
Pete: No, they just answer the phone.

CA: When is the accounting done? Is it done on ledgers? How do you keep track of what may be many individual transactions?
Pete: We do tickets in triplicate. We don't use a computer, for the simple fact that that creates more evidence. Some people have gotten highly sophisticated, which I don't believe in, because the business is relatively simple. We use triplicates and we have two people doing it. We call it the knockdown. That means they do all the tickets, two people. They have to come up with the same answer.

CA: It's like a cross check?
Pete: Yeah.

CA: When do they do it?
Pete: They do it at night or early in the morning. They have to wait until all the results are in.


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