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The numbers game (policy game)

The numbers game (policy game) is a form of lottery that Harlemites played on a daily basis. Even black professionals, influential, and so called "respectable," people played or participated in the games. The game is played by players betting on a series of three numbers from 0 to 999. Numbers runners would collect the money from the bettors each day, leave each bettor a receipt from what was called a "policy book," and then take the cash and policy book to the clearing house, also known as a policy bank. A player would win if his/her numbers matched a preset series of three numbers, which were found in daily newspapers as the last three digits of either the NYSE total, U.S. Treasury balance, or total bets at a selected racetrack. The numbers game seldom favored the players because the results were often "fixed." Read more . . .