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Running the NumbersRace, Police, and the History of Urban Gambling$
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Matthew Vaz

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226690445

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226690582.001.0001

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We Intend to Run It

We Intend to Run It

(p.123) 5 We Intend to Run It
Running the Numbers
Matthew Vaz
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the emergence of state lotteries during the 1960s and 1970s. With police authority to arrest known gamblers on sight now curbed by the Supreme Court, police officials in New York and elsewhere sought to be relieved of the burden of gambling enforcement. Government lotteries emerged as an alternative to criminal enforcement against gambling. The chapter follows the political process that gave birth to the New York State Lottery and lotteries in other northern states. As these early lotteries stumbled, they became intent on capturing the urban black gambling customer. Black elected officials in New York and Chicago attempted to resist this cooptation of the numbers and policy games. Yet efforts to preserve gambling in black neighborhoods as a source of jobs failed in the face of efforts to extract revenue from the urban poor through lotteries.

Keywords:   New York Police Department, lotteries, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Patrick V. Murphy, numbers game, taxation, fiscal crisis, James R. Lawson, legalized gambling

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