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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 16)

CA: Because there was a lot of money bet on it?
Pete: Yeah, but you can't believe it. Not many people knew about it, but those who did bet very heavy. That's what brought the price down, a select few. Of course, the public can see the odds board.

CA: Do you ever get action or have you ever bet on jai alai?
Pete: We don't take business on jai alai. But me personally, that is one of the only sports that I really like to go watch and bet. It's the worst sport to bet, because of the human element, but I find the game very exciting.

CA: Do you make your own personal bets, or do you feel you are already in the game by handling the bets? It can be addictive, and you could throw away all your profits. Are you a player as well as bookie, or strictly a bookie?
Pete: I am a player.

CA: What do you like to play?
Pete: Football.

CA: College? Professional?
Pete: Both. I, like everybody else, like to make a bet. For me, however, if I have enough money on one team, it's the same thing as betting. It's the same thing as betting, without paying the commission.

CA: Right, if you got 10 grand on one side, 15 grand on the other, there's a five thousand spread.
Pete: That's good enough for me.

CA: When that happens to be the team you like anyway?
Pete: Yes, yes, it's good enough for me.

CA: So you make the 10 percent plus the five grand.
Pete: Actually, if you're going to do that, you shouldn't let one business dictate to another. However, if you have any intelligence, you'll say, "Well, I have enough going for me. That's good enough."

CA: What's the biggest bet you ever handled?
Pete: Fifty thousand.

CA: Tell me about that. Was this a regular customer or somebody that came out of the blue?
Pete: A regular customer. He wanted to bet on the Super Bowl.

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