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Federal authorities investigating illegal NJ 'lottery' pool, sources say

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New Jersey LotteryNew Jersey Lottery: Federal authorities investigating illegal NJ 'lottery' pool, sources say
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Multiple people, including one county employee, have been called to testify in a federal probe into an alleged illegal lottery contest that hundreds of Hudson County employees pay a $20 fee to enter, multiple sources told The Jersey Journal.

The feds are looking into whether the organizers of the game, based on numbers drawn in the state lottery's official Pick 6, are taking a cut of the total pool money.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark did not return a call for comment. Asked to comment on the probe, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Newark said, "The FBI can neither confirm nor deny the existence of investigations."

A county official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the subject, said it is believed that as many as 50% of employees at County Prep High School in Jersey City and High Tech High School in Secaucus have participated in the "lottery" at one time or another.

Another source, who also requested anonymity because they work for the county, said the lottery game is also drawing players from bars and other establishments in and outside the county, many of whom aren't county workers.

Despite knowledge of the pool and how it works, everyone who spoke with the Journal said they are not aware of who manages it or where it is based. Also, they all claimed to be unaware if the organizer takes a percentage of the pool.

Under New Jersey and federal law, this type of pool — much like NCAA Tournament pools and Super Bowl box pools — is considered illegal gambling, but it is rarely investigated, experts say, unless the prize money gets into the six-figure range or the organizer keeps a share of the pool money.

There are some exemptions, such as nonprofit organizations that operate raffles, bingo games or casino night as fundraisers. Those groups must first get a permit.

In 2010, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office arrested John Bovery on charges related to sports betting pools he organized totaling $1.7 million, court documents say. In that case, authorities claimed that Bovery would in many cases receive a 10% gift from the winner.

Bovery eventually pleaded guilty to possession of gambling records and the state seized the bank account he controlled containing some $850,000, court documents say.

"If you want to have a friendly poker game at your house, that's OK, as long as you're not taking a cut of the pot," said a local attorney who asked to remain anonymous.

Hudson County Superintendent of Schools Amy Lin-Rodriguez did not return a call seeking information on the lottery and the federal investigation, but district spokeswoman Caitlin Mota said HCST has not been contacted by authorities.

"The district would certainly provide its full cooperation to any agency that may inquire or request any information," Mota said.

The school district did not say if it has a specific policy against its employees participating in the cash pools.

According to a county employee, the game works as follows: entrants pick six numbers between 1 and 49 before the start of a new game. After each state Pick-6 drawing, entrants look to see how many of their numbers came out in the drawing.

The first entrant to have all six of their numbers selected in the Pick-6, no matter how many drawings it takes, wins the pot. If more than one entrant gets all six numbers in the same drawing the money is split between the winners.

The county worker described the pool of lottery players as "massive" and the payout as quite large. A former Jersey City elected official, who said he knew about the lottery but never played it, confirmed the payouts are "large."

Hudson County spokesman James Kennelly did not reply to calls seeking comment on the investigation, and County Executive Tom DeGise was not available for comment Thursday. It is unclear if the county has a policy related to the cash pools.

NJ

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15 comments. Last comment 2 months ago by Stack47.
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sully16's avatar - sharan
25
Ringleader
Michigan
United States
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October 28, 2009
66593 Posts
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Posted: July 25, 2019, 7:46 pm - IP Logged

Racketeering, tax evasion, someone is in trouble. 

The prize payouts are most likely better then the States.

Lovies

    Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
    100
    Zeta Reticuli Star System
    United States
    Member #30469
    January 17, 2006
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    Posted: July 25, 2019, 9:07 pm - IP Logged

    Racketeering, tax evasion, someone is in trouble. 

    The prize payouts are most likely better then the States.

    Maybe, maybe not Sully...........this goes back a long time before NJ even had a lottery but the bookies used to pay less for 'the number' (now Pick 3) if the middle digit was 1. 

    When you've got the only game in town................

    I grew up in Bayonne, borders Jersey City.

    Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

    Lep

    There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

      Avatar
      Navy Veteran USN
      Fresno, California
      United States
      Member #157851
      August 2, 2014
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      Posted: July 25, 2019, 10:32 pm - IP Logged

      Would organized crime be interested in this game? You never know.

       John Tyler was our tenth President from 1841 - 1845.US Flag

        cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

        United States
        Member #197033
        March 28, 2019
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        Posted: July 26, 2019, 1:54 am - IP Logged

        Racketeering, tax evasion, someone is in trouble. 

        The prize payouts are most likely better then the States.

        For sure! The organizers of this pool most likely took a 10% cut, far less than the state's massive 50% cut. It sounds like a fun game and I can see why so many played it.

        Top secret winning numbers: 5 16 17 24 33 52

          sully16's avatar - sharan
          25
          Ringleader
          Michigan
          United States
          Member #81738
          October 28, 2009
          66593 Posts
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          Posted: July 26, 2019, 6:04 am - IP Logged

          Maybe, maybe not Sully...........this goes back a long time before NJ even had a lottery but the bookies used to pay less for 'the number' (now Pick 3) if the middle digit was 1. 

          When you've got the only game in town................

          I grew up in Bayonne, borders Jersey City.

          Back in the late 70's I worked in a warehouse and our Union Steward ran a pick 3 pool out of the ladies room. Green laugh

          Lovies

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            United States
            Member #113296
            July 6, 2011
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            Posted: July 26, 2019, 8:37 am - IP Logged

            Of Course... the State HATES competition!!!! 

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              Simpsonville
              United States
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              January 22, 2015
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              Posted: July 26, 2019, 11:35 am - IP Logged

              I feel there are bigger fish to fry as far as crime in this country goes and FBI resources could be better utilized elsewhere.

               

              Not condoning the legality of their alleged actions; and a good point was made earlier that the State of New Jersey doesn't like that.

              Large jackpots---would love to know how much the winner got.   Oh, we have good old tax evasion here too.  Shame shame.

                zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
                South Carolina
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                Posted: July 26, 2019, 2:59 pm - IP Logged

                Help me understand this game--Are there people playing and winning this game who are not winning the legal Pick 6 game?

                And what does "no matter how many drawings it takes" mean?  If someone picks a number on July 1 and it hits on July 10 they win?

                Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

                “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar

                  cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

                  United States
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                  March 28, 2019
                  205 Posts
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                  Posted: July 26, 2019, 6:43 pm - IP Logged

                  Help me understand this game--Are there people playing and winning this game who are not winning the legal Pick 6 game?

                  And what does "no matter how many drawings it takes" mean?  If someone picks a number on July 1 and it hits on July 10 they win?

                  I gather it works like this: At the start of the game, everyone buys in at $20 and picks 6 numbers from 1 to 49. Say you pick (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). The next official lottery drawing for the NJ 6/49 game comes out as (1, 6, 7, 8, 20, 30). You got two numbers right (1 and 6) and now you've got four more to go.

                  The next lottery drawing comes out as (2, 3, 5, 40, 41, 42). You got three more numbers right (2, 3, and 5) and now you've got one more to go.

                  The next lottery drawing comes out (4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14). With that 4, you've now you've hit all six of the numbers you picked at the beginning, and it only took three drawings. As long as nobody hit all six of their numbers before you did, you win the pool. 

                  I wonder if the organizers were old school and took everyone's bets in a physical ledger book, or if they went modern and had people enter their picks via a webform that automatically updated. It was probably the latter if they were even taking wagers from people all over the place. Did they get caught via a leak or a FBI hacking? It's a great story.

                  Top secret winning numbers: 5 16 17 24 33 52

                    grwurston's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                    Win Today.
                    bel air maryland
                    United States
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                    April 24, 2010
                    8141 Posts
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                    Posted: July 26, 2019, 7:08 pm - IP Logged

                    Racketeering, tax evasion, someone is in trouble. 

                    The prize payouts are most likely better then the States.

                    Super Bowl box pools are illegal gambling!!! Are you kidding me??? That's like half the country.

                    Seems to me like the only thing making it illegal is that the state isn't getting a cut of the $$$.

                    "You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player.

                    The numbers will tell you what numbers to play. Pay attention to the numbers.

                    Every lottery system can be improved. If you're not winning almost every day, yours can be made better.

                      Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                      100
                      Zeta Reticuli Star System
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                      Posted: July 26, 2019, 8:56 pm - IP Logged

                      grwurston,

                      Seems to me like the only thing making it illegal is that the state isn't getting a cut of the $$$.

                      Remember the TV series Wiseguy with Ken Wahl and Ray Sharkey?

                      Wahl was an undercover cop sent into Sharkey's organization........as the series went on there's an episode where Sharkey finds out Wahl is a cop and can't believe it because they got along so good. 

                      Wahl says, "You kill people" and Sharkey says, "I don't send teenagers to some jungle to do it for me."

                      Then as they're talking Sharkey says, "Even if what I do is illegal as soon as it starts making money some clown from the government is there with his hand out telling me I owe taxes.."

                      Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

                      Lep

                      There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                        grwurston's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                        Win Today.
                        bel air maryland
                        United States
                        Member #90247
                        April 24, 2010
                        8141 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: July 27, 2019, 12:59 pm - IP Logged

                        grwurston,

                        Seems to me like the only thing making it illegal is that the state isn't getting a cut of the $$$.

                        Remember the TV series Wiseguy with Ken Wahl and Ray Sharkey?

                        Wahl was an undercover cop sent into Sharkey's organization........as the series went on there's an episode where Sharkey finds out Wahl is a cop and can't believe it because they got along so good. 

                        Wahl says, "You kill people" and Sharkey says, "I don't send teenagers to some jungle to do it for me."

                        Then as they're talking Sharkey says, "Even if what I do is illegal as soon as it starts making money some clown from the government is there with his hand out telling me I owe taxes.."

                        Ain't that the truth.  LOL

                        "You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player.

                        The numbers will tell you what numbers to play. Pay attention to the numbers.

                        Every lottery system can be improved. If you're not winning almost every day, yours can be made better.

                          Avatar
                          Kentucky
                          United States
                          Member #32651
                          February 14, 2006
                          8617 Posts
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                          Posted: July 27, 2019, 11:05 pm - IP Logged

                          I gather it works like this: At the start of the game, everyone buys in at $20 and picks 6 numbers from 1 to 49. Say you pick (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). The next official lottery drawing for the NJ 6/49 game comes out as (1, 6, 7, 8, 20, 30). You got two numbers right (1 and 6) and now you've got four more to go.

                          The next lottery drawing comes out as (2, 3, 5, 40, 41, 42). You got three more numbers right (2, 3, and 5) and now you've got one more to go.

                          The next lottery drawing comes out (4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14). With that 4, you've now you've hit all six of the numbers you picked at the beginning, and it only took three drawings. As long as nobody hit all six of their numbers before you did, you win the pool. 

                          I wonder if the organizers were old school and took everyone's bets in a physical ledger book, or if they went modern and had people enter their picks via a webform that automatically updated. It was probably the latter if they were even taking wagers from people all over the place. Did they get caught via a leak or a FBI hacking? It's a great story.

                          I was in a similar type pool that was $5 a drawing and when the jackpot reached a certain level, QPs were bought with part of the pool money. The guy running the pool gave us a list of the 30 participants and the six numbers each of us played.  Nobody thought about the legality, but I'm guessing because the NJ pool is government employees, someone got ticked off and told someone they knew working for the Feds. 

                          Despite knowledge of the pool and how it works, everyone who spoke with the Journal said they are not aware of who manages it or where it is based.

                          If they don't know who to pay the $20 entry fee, they can't play. Basically some people probably told the Journal about something they heard.

                            zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
                            South Carolina
                            United States
                            Member #77165
                            July 15, 2009
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                            Posted: July 28, 2019, 7:36 pm - IP Logged

                            I gather it works like this: At the start of the game, everyone buys in at $20 and picks 6 numbers from 1 to 49. Say you pick (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). The next official lottery drawing for the NJ 6/49 game comes out as (1, 6, 7, 8, 20, 30). You got two numbers right (1 and 6) and now you've got four more to go.

                            The next lottery drawing comes out as (2, 3, 5, 40, 41, 42). You got three more numbers right (2, 3, and 5) and now you've got one more to go.

                            The next lottery drawing comes out (4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14). With that 4, you've now you've hit all six of the numbers you picked at the beginning, and it only took three drawings. As long as nobody hit all six of their numbers before you did, you win the pool. 

                            I wonder if the organizers were old school and took everyone's bets in a physical ledger book, or if they went modern and had people enter their picks via a webform that automatically updated. It was probably the latter if they were even taking wagers from people all over the place. Did they get caught via a leak or a FBI hacking? It's a great story.

                            Thank you for explaining it--I see why people would play it.

                            Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

                            “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar