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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 19)

CA: So wouldn't it pay for you to go offshore and do it legally?
Pete: I've been offered; however, I have a family, you know.

CA: You'd have to move?
Pete: Yeah.

CA: In every city is there one major book-making opera-tion from which all others take the lead?
Pete: I would imagine so, although I don't know.

CA: Do the casinos in Vegas get a much larger piece of the sports betting action or attract larger bets?
Pete: Nobody wants the big bettor, even in Las Vegas. They don't take that big of a bet. It's just difficult. They would much rather handle the little player and do the volume like anything else.

CA: What about college basketball?
Pete: Popular.

CA: What about high school football?
Pete: No, absolutely not.

CA: Nothing in high school?
Pete: Nothing lower than college. Although, I know some people who'd like to bet on cockroaches running, but there's just no prices.

CA: Are there any sports other than basketball, football and baseball that...
Pete: Hockey.

CA: Hockey--is hockey popular?
Pete: No. It has its peaks and valleys; sometimes it's popular, sometimes you do nothing. I'll give you a little anecdote. There was a fellow who played for maybe two months on football. He lost. Every week he lost. One day there wasn't any football and he came up and said, "Gee, what am I going to do?" The bookmaker said, "Well, we have hockey," and he said, "What do I know about hockey?"

CA: Did he bet?
Pete: Yeah.

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