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Living by the Book

Illegal Gambling Operations Handle Millions of Dollars Every Month
Michael Konik
From the Print Edition:
maduro issue, Winter 93/94

(continued from page 4)

"Honor," Kelly says, "is a big part of this business. So is trust. There are a lot of very fine people who make book, and a lot of decent people who bet with us. Very fine individuals. It's just too bad it's illegal."

Michael Konik is a writer based in Hollywood, California.

* All names and some identifying details have been changed.

Super Bowl Mania

There's no debate in the world of bookies about which day is the busiest of the year: Super Bowl Sunday. A prominent Texas bookie describes the 1993 event, the Super Bowl between the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills, which the Cowboys won 52-17.

"The phones start ringing early, even before the pregame show starts. On Super Bowl Sunday, everybody's a bettor. By this time of the football season, almost all of my customers are down for the year. The Super Bowl is the last chance they have to 'come back.' So volume is tremendous. We have a television going in the office, and everytime a so-called expert makes a prediction--boom!--in come the calls. People want to have somebody else to blame if they lose their bet, I guess. In a way, television's the best friend my office ever had.

"About an hour before kickoff, a lot of money starts to come in on Dallas. Now you got to understand, we already have our line adjusted up. We're in Texas, and people want to bet on the home team and all. So we make them pay a premium. We're probably a point over the Vegas number already. But now we start getting some serious action on the 'Boys: $3,000, $5,000, $10,000 bets. Now we got almost $600,000 on the 'Boys and only about $200,000 on the Bills. So we got to make a decision. Do we even up? Or do we gamble with the Bills?

"I personally think Dallas is going to win, but my associates decide that, hey, we're way up for the season already. We're gambling with the customers' money. We're going to let it go and root for Buffalo.

"Well, some money came in on the Bills right before the national anthem. But we ended up losing about $250,000, anyway. I guess that shows you should never gamble, right?"

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