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Police Open Drive On Local Bookies

Barber Ray Colucci Nabbed in Raid As Three Admit Placing Bets


A CRIMSON survey on Harvard Square gambling was rushed to completion yesterday afternoon. It appear on page four.

City police inaugurated a full-scale crackdown on Harvard Square gambling yesterday with a noon-time raid on Ray's Barber Shop at the corner of Holyoke and Mt. Auburn Streets. Barging into the basement shop, they apprehended three College students who admitted placing bets with barber Ray Colucci, both yesterday morning and on previous days during the past year.

According to police, Colucci confessed in a Central Square headquarters quiz that he had "taken a few bets from time to time."

He was released yesterday afternoon on $400 bail and will appear this morning in the Middlesex Third District Court. Charges against him are for "registering a bet" and for "promoting a lottery."

If guilty, he faces a fine of $100 or three months in a house of correction. Police would release no information on the three students.

Colucci has allegedly confessed to accepting both horse race wagers and bets on "numbers." Police found no slips, chits, or other evidence in the shop; they explained that Colucci probably kept the numbers and horses in his head, and phoned them in to some bookmaking headquarters soon after they were placed.

Yesterday's raid is "only the beginning," according to Crime Prevention director Thomas J. Stokes of the Cambridge police. Although Harvard Square is one of the cleanest trading centers in Cambridge, Captain Stokes announced yesterday that his squad is out to mop up those bookies who still make a living here from students and other local betters.

"Colucci's arrest should be a warning to the others," Stokes asserted last night. "They know who they are."

The extent of local bookmaking is no secret. Square newsstands sell out their tipsheets with no trouble in winter as well as summer. No New England tracks open before mid-April, and there is no legal way to bet in Massachusetts on a Florida race. The answer, obviously, is illegal bookmaking.

A Good Business

Bookmaking is a profitable occupation. It is estimated that $1,000 at the very least, is handled daily in the Square in bets on numbers and horse races. In addition to the myriad part-time agents who accept bets as a sideline to regular employment, the profession supports at least three full-time operators who are often under close police surveillance. Because they write no chits, police can seldom bring charges against them.

At least another dozen local business men are suspected of meeting rent payments by accepting money from bookies and pick-up men who use their places of business to contact bettors and phone in wagers.

40-50 Percent Cut

Racing bookmakers get between 40 and 50 percent of all money bet with them, regardless of how much they pay out in winnings. The numbers racket works on a more complex scheme.

The numbers man who works through one of the organized syndicates gets about 15 percent of the difference between the amount bet with him and the amount won by his customers. If the month's winnings are greater than the sum he has collected, the agent works without any cut until the difference between money bet and won makes up for the previous loss.

To compensate for winning numbers taken by an agent which cut down his monthly take, the syndicate pays him ten percent more than he owes to his winners. So long as he keeps out of debt, the numbers agent averages 10 to 15 percent of the total money bet with him.

Boston newspapers contribute to the numbers racket by publishing the prof- ious day's winning figure--usually the three digits, from top to bottom, to the left of the decimal point in the "Suffolk Mutuols"; some pools make use of U.S. Treasury reports.

The William Armstrong Sports Matinee (every afternoon except Sunday on WMEX) provides horse racing bookies with reliable results and track odds and eliminates the delay of waiting for the next day's newspaper

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