Sorry, Not a Winner!

writestuffStarred Page By writestuff, 14th Dec 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1lp4e9_e/
Posted in Wikinut>Gambling>Lotteries

Profiles of Illinois' Illegal and Legal Lottery Games

Gamester's Traditions

Do you believe in the random luck of the draw? Do you have you have a lucky bamboo shoot or lotto number plant? Have you got relatives that burned luck-drawing incense, or lite green colored candles for their timeless association with good fortune? Do you carry a crisp $2.00 bill with a torn corner in a Baruch wallet? Maybe you have a quarts stone secreted away in your purse or carry High John the Conquer Root as a pocket piece. Or perhaps, like an elderly gamester you also consult the horoscope for your special digits, trusty Tarot Cards or current Dream Book's interpretation prior to choosing your play number selections? If some of the above rings true, there is 90% chance that you are familiar with the above various magical charms, lucky amulets or ancient good fortune cultural idiosyncrasies because either you, a close relative or an acquaintance also 'play the numbers'.


Back in the day, belief in good fortune enhancing rituals and Dream Book interpretations was an everyday occurrence among many working-class Americans. Betting on digits and number combinations was popular in both large urban as well as small rural communities throughout the U.S.A. These number games of chance had different monikers depending upon the populations and locales in which they were played. Many east coast Cuban-Americas played 'bolita'. Many members of the Italian-American community played 'the numbers'. Untold hundreds of Chicago area African-Americans played 'policy'. It was the brink of the 20th Century and these were the 'grateful days' when policy was king. During those bitter decades of economic uncertainty, a hopeful bettor's dream could be realized for only a penny. This profitable 'illegal' poverty-driven penny ante scheme grew in popularity for over half a century until it garnered the unwanted attention of Estes Kefauver.

'Beans-Ham and Gravy'

Both oral history and urban legend hold that the Windy City, i.e. Chicago was indeed the infamous epic-center for number gaming. From c. 1900 - 1974, most residents of the state of Illinois viewed Policy Wheel Gaming Syndicates, Policy Kingpins (Ted Roe and the Jones Brothers) and the lucrative Policy Shops as predominately an urban ghetto hustle. It was considered 'only a poor man's vice'. Moreover, it was a foolish, sinful lower-classed pastime. However, in its hey day, policy gaming insured the wealth of the self -made millionaire, Jones brothers. Before their emergence as wealthy local Policy Kingpins, this respected African-American trio of gaming entrepreneurs were known as 'regular guys'. Two of the brothers were employed as Pullman Porters while the other brother was self-employed.

The Jones brothers (Edward, George and Mc Kissack ) were excellent marketing strategist. They disguised and pitted all of their wheels against each other with novelty names like 'beans-ham and gravy' which of course appealed to their large working class clientele. The Jones brothers were colorful, well-known Chicago Policy Kingpins. Moreover, they were known for running a 'straight wheel that paid off on time and paid in full'. In the same vein, Theodore Roe was know for playing it forward with his 'community philanthropic' gestures specifically toward his policy players from the large Spiritual-based church in the prominent Bronzeville, South side community. Additionally, several community area and/or owner-operated business: shoe shine booths, dry cleaners, laundry services, poultry shops, newspaper stands, barber shops and beauty shops housed policy stations to hedge against unexpected financial lost. In both the West and the South Side communities of Chicago it was not uncommon for several single and/or widowed minority women to also write policy as a means of creating additionally needed income(s).

Several popular wheels also had notable brand names such as 'Windy City' and 'Clearing House' which were both well-known in the community. Little by little an entire popular sub-industry sprung up from the instant need for fortune-drawing accessories and operational activities associated with this popular game of chance. There was a renewed interest in acquiring wealth via a metaphysical approach to prosperity. Many parishioners welcomed the 'less forbidding' and 'more pardonable' association between the flock and their Shepherd, in particular those congregation members who always tithed 10% of their policy winnings. For the most part, it was a win, win situation as a vast majority of the gaming wealth stayed in the community in which it was initially made. Pop-up Curio Shops that specialized in blessed candles, oils, Buddha's, elephants, smudge bundles and pocket pieces also flourished. In those days the joyful cry after the daily midday and evening drawing among the 'illegal number game' bettors in the small ghetto communities was - 'I Hit!'. But, now more often than not the disdainful cry is - 'Oh crap!' as the digital scanner reads: 'Sorry, Not a Winner' when a bettor checks his or her Illinois State's legally sanctioned lottery number play slips.


New Games & New Rules

Various American historical documents note that legalizes numbers games have existed for over 300 years as a means for states to raise needed funds. With the onset of dwindling state revenue, numerous investigations of infamous organized crime activities and the wealth of policy kingpins, Illinois state officials began to look towards the illegal policy racket as a new source of untapped income. On 07/01/1974 the IL. State Lottery officially came into being. Later that month on July 30th, the first lottery tickets went on sale throughout the state. Lottery ticket sales grew and soon proved to be an asset for the state coffers. But when state need turned into state greed the games, the frequency of games, the types of games and the jackpot prize amounts changed again and again.

According to a special WSJ report (24/7 Wall St.), Illinois is 1 of the 10 worst run states in America. Thus, it is should not come as any surprise when IL. Lottery players consistently voice concern about jackpot prize amounts, winning ticket ratios, 'zip code advantages' and 'targeted community advertisement promos'. However, recently many serious new questions have been raised with regards to how the lottery now operates. What was once seen a 'lower-classed pastime' is now seen as a 'regressive tax'. There has been a groundswell of inquiry among many inner-city gamers since the privatization of the Illinois State Lottery Game. Officially, on July 11, 2011, The Northstar Lottery Group began running the IL. State Lottery.

Recently there has been some serious accountability issues related to the timely and full payment of profits into the state coffers. The constant talk in many communities since the unprecedented closing of 50 Chicago Public Schools is: 'Was it conversation or legislation' when lottery funds were ear-marked for 'education'? Perhaps Northstar's marketing strategies do not adequately address this concern. Other noted concerns continue to be centered around transparency and the alleged increase in the promotion and sale of 'low paying' and/or non-winning instant games tickets. Since the lottery is not 'in the red', there is also concern regarding why the % of money paid to the retailers on winning tickets has decreased. Many store owners are now returning rolls of unsold tickets that their patrons consider to be 'rip off game tickets'. Given the well-known history of an old urban ghetto hustle and the recent experiences of 'seasoned gamers' there is a growing discontent with the offering of new games and the non- bettor friendly gaming new rules of playing. It is a discontent that must be addressed if the IL. State Lottery Game is to remain a viable entity/asset.


CREDITS:

Photos courtesy of Chicago Tribune and Wikimedia

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Tags

Dream Interpretation, Gambling, Good Luck, Lottery, Lottery Strategies, Lotto, Lotto Games, Lucky Numbers, Numbers, Numerology, Policy Wheels

Meet the author

author avatar writestuff
C.A. Lofton is a proponent of Positive Thinking. Her creative works: lyrics, short stories and poetry. B.A. in English and certificates in counseling and publishing. Website: www.calofton.com

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Comments

author avatar writestuff
17th Dec 2014 (#)

Steve,
Thanks for your moderation, star and constructive advice.

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author avatar Sherri Granato
17th Dec 2014 (#)

Awesome article. A lot of work and research went into this little baby. I used to rely on traditions and good luck charms. Now I buy a ticket if I am feeling it and pray for the best.

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author avatar writestuff
17th Dec 2014 (#)

Thanks Sherri,
I enjoyed researching this article. Got lots of history from longtime lotto players and a few old policy players. Again thanks for your read and comments.

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author avatar M G Singh
17th Dec 2014 (#)

Nice post. Gambling is inherent to human nature

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author avatar writestuff
18th Dec 2014 (#)

Singh,thanks for your read and kind comment. Yes I too believe gambling is inherent to human nature.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
19th Dec 2014 (#)

fabulous post this...perhaps it is the challenge to win which is definitely part of man's nature...thank you again..

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author avatar writestuff
19th Dec 2014 (#)

Thanks for your read and your supportive comments.

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author avatar vpaulose
24th Dec 2014 (#)

Thank you for this nice post. Wishes for Merry Christmas.

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author avatar writestuff
24th Dec 2014 (#)

Thanks for your read and comment. Wishing you and yours Merry Christmas and Holiday Greetings.

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author avatar Utah Jay
24th Dec 2014 (#)

Yes a great post, and no, I do not believe in luck, so in the hotel casino I stayed at for business I gave a drink girl who worked in the slot machine area ten bucks to point out a machine for me. I won 1800.00 on the thing so I gave her 150.00. That next year she pointed out many machines for me and won 40,000.00 that year...True story...Great post.

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author avatar writestuff
24th Dec 2014 (#)

Thanks for your read and comment. Good for you!! Perhaps it was the drink girl's luck-drawing power that pulled off such good fortune for you. (LOL) Best to you and yours Happy Holidays.

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author avatar Utah Jay
26th Dec 2014 (#)

She just showed me the machines that had been played a lot and not hit, the rest was luck adjusted.

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author avatar Kingwell
14th Feb 2015 (#)

No lucky charms for me but I buy a lottery ticket sometimes.

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author avatar writestuff
17th Feb 2015 (#)

Thanks for your comment and read. Hope your next ticket is lucky winner.

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author avatar Retired
21st Feb 2015 (#)

The lure of big winnings is the bane of lottery players despite the better odds of being struck by lightning on a sunny day. It's a way of making big money, but not for the gambler. Nicely written piece here.

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author avatar writestuff
3rd Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks for your read and knowledgeable comment.

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author avatar sarosh
4th Mar 2015 (#)

I never belived in lucky games as i feel it is waste of money

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author avatar writestuff
4th Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks for your read and comment.

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author avatar Eunice Tan
4th Mar 2015 (#)

Interesting article

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author avatar writestuff
4th Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks for your comment and read.

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author avatar sarosh
12th Mar 2015 (#)

Gambling is very bad and it has the capacity to wipe out everything in your life

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author avatar writestuff
14th Mar 2015 (#)

Gambling indeed can be an addictive behavior. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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author avatar n.c.radomes
18th Mar 2015 (#)

I fully enjoyed reading the article, coming to the conclusion that this is your forte, your knowledge, vocabulary even to the minutest details is amazing. Voted up!

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author avatar writestuff
25th Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks so much for your vote of confidence.. Coming from you this supportive comment is also a treasured comment. Thanks so much for your read.

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