Talk about knowing your job, before computers arrived, there was a skill to being a bookmaker. Being able to move a line, write your bets and correct the figures are among a few. We also had special “water” paper we used while working in hidden locations; always being cognizant of our surroundings. Working seven days a week, Monday through Friday 6 pm – 8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays three shifts, 12 noon – 1 pm, 3 – 4 pm and 7 – 8 pm (when they started Sunday Night Football). Some of you might be wondering why such short stints? Well, not wanting to be there too long helped us to avoid the law. Still perplexed about the water paper? Well we sat there with two phones and a bucket of water to quickly “dissolve” the paper into, so any evidence of all the bets just melted away. In those cases we would have to take the customers word for it when we checked their figure the next day. Of course, we would be coy when asking them what THEY had for a figure and then accepted it. This was not a job for the faint of heart.
For me, there was nothing like the old days and all the characters that came with them (more about them in future articles). I had a saying, “Not only does happiness lie in the possession of money, but its also in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. I said it recently to a Millennial who said, I have a saying as well, “Times change, change with them or get out of the way”. It looks like they’re right, which is why I’m trying my hand with Instagram, Facebook, analytics and yes, legalized computer gambling. My friends from the past could never have imagined!