THE LIFE OF A BOOKIE – NEW YORK
There is no bigger metropolitan area than that which surrounds New York City.
And so while there is lots of opportunity, there is also lots of competition to be encountered.
And when you are talking about the Big Apple and that which is around it, you are talking about a populace with a lot of people who think they know a lot. In other words, you are going to find a lot of arrogance.
Okay, let’s call it “confidence.” Regardless of the terminology, the question, as a bookie in this area, is whether you can use it to your advantage.
There’s Something for Everybody
There are many choices to be had around New York, as you’re probably already aware. As far as the four major sports are concerned; i.e., the bulk of any bookie’s sports betting business, this is not a “singles” area. There are two major league baseball teams, two NBA teams, two NFL teams (albeit right out the Lincoln Tunnel) and no less than three NHL teams (including one right outside the Holland Tunnel) that are covered on a consistent basis by the New York media. And there is enough in the way of college sports to keep a lot of people interested.
Furthermore, there are newspapers galore, which isn’t the case in most major cities these days. You’ve got the New York Post, New York Daily News, New York Times and New York Newsday (which concentrates basically on Long Island). And that doesn’t even include some of the other publications that address the suburban areas, particularly those that are located in New Jersey, which are read by people who may consider themselves New Yorkers and commute to jobs in the city somewhere.
And of course, there are the local television outlets, which include NY1, that are on top of things every day. And no city in the country has more sports talk radio than New York.
In other words, the people who are part of a bookie’s clientele are not going to be lacking in terms of what they are going to see and hear about their favorite team. Of course, that is something you can use to your advantage as well, because such an atmosphere produces a lot of “squares.” And squares are going to help you make a living.
Rivalries That Spike Business
We could go on and on about the great players who have graced the fields and arenas for the New York teams, but you know those people already. Just know that since the New York-area teams are often the most well-heeled and have experienced great success, there are natural rivalries that have developed. And those rivalries can help fuel your business as a bookie.
Of course, in baseball, there is very little that can compare with the animosity that exists between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. And there is a significant historical basis for it, since it was the Red Sox who dealt Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920 and triggered the long-time Yankee “dynasty,” which included the construction of Yankee Stadium – The House That Ruth Built – in the Bronx. This rivalry always inspires action.
There are natural geographic rivalries in the area in basketball (the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets) and hockey (the Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey Devils). And by the way, if you are going to be a bookie in New York, prepare to have a very knowledgeable hockey clientele.
In what is considered generally the most popular betting sport, pro football, the Giants and Jets don’t meet all that often, but they have their share of “hate” rivalries just the same. This happens organically because of their respective divisional setups, but you can count on some visceral reaction when the Giants oppose, for example, the Philadelphia Eagles or the Jets line up against the New England Patriots. These are just examples.
How you are going to get customers and what kind of customers they are going to be may vary according to where you live in the New York area. For example, if you live in what is referred to as “the city” (Manhattan), you may find different people in the course of your travels than you would if you were in the outer boroughs (Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island) or Long Island.
If you are intensely into networking, you might run into some young Wall Street types who have disposable income and a taste for sports betting. And that can work in either of two ways. On the one hand, they could have a “master of the universe” attitude, filled with arrogance, and over the long run,. you, as the bookie, are going to benefit greatly from that, if they are too arrogant to do their homework.
Chances are, you’re going to have plenty of potential customers to draw from, no matter how you’re networking or what socio-economic status they occupy.
The other side of the coin is that these could be people who work a lot with algorithms and analytics, and they might be very sharp. Because sharp people can hurt you in your sports betting business, you have to be careful how you manage them. And you have to be pretty sharp yourself.
The Fringe Benefits
When you talk about enjoying the fruits of your labor, there are very few places imaginable where you can do this to the extent you can in New York. And at the same times, there may not be as many different ways in which you can entertain your clients. By the way, if you are new to this, you WILL find out that you will socialize with your customers, if you don’t already.
You could, of course, bring one of your premium customers into some premium seats at a Yankees-Red Sox game, but you’re going to find yourself spending upwards of $1000 – per seat. Expect to spend at least $250 for New York Rangers tickets, and $300 for the Knicks. You can get away cheaper for the Giants and Jets, but bring your binoculars.
You’ll find that there are plenty of other spots where you can enjoy yourself and the company of others, while at the same time do a bit of networking. If this was the old days, you might be able to congregate at Toots Shor’s, where the politicians, mobsters and athletes all imbibed under the same roof.
In Manhattan, if you want to go real fancy, you may want to head to Del Posto, where some of the best Italian food in the country is served, or if you want to impress someone with a multitude of celebrity sightings, try the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center. If you want the best steak money can buy, travel across the bridge into Brooklyn for a night at Peter Luger.
If it’s all business, try the Four Seasons, or better yet, the legendary “power breakfast” at the Loews Regency. And if you REALLY want to hit a home run, bring yourself and one of your best customers to Rao’s in Italian Harlem, but be forewarned that it is one of the toughest restaurants in the United States to get into.
As the song says, “If I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere.”