James”Jimmy””Bah-Bah””The Sheep” Battista was a stressed-out, obese, Oxy-addicted 41-year-old, in the hole to some underground gamblers for amounts he had sort of lost track of, even when he settled in to watch an NBA game for which he thought he’d simply put in the fix. It was January 2007. A month or so back, not long before Christmas, he’d done something audacious: He had sat down and cut a deal with an NBA referee. He feared the scheme had become overly obvious.
“You wanna get paid?” Battista had stated to the ref. “Then you have ta cover the f–ing spread” The bribe was two dimes, $2,000 per game — an outrageous bargain. If the choice won, the ref got his two dimes. If the choice missed, then the ref owed nothing; Battista would eat the reduction. A”free roll,” as they call it. However, this referee did not lose much. His selections were winning at an 88% clip, entirely unheard of in sports gambling for any sustained period of time. They’re now entering the sixth week of the plot — what you might call a sustained time period.
Battista had understood the ref, Timmy Donaghy, for 25 decades. They had gone to the same parochial high school in the suburban areas of Delaware County, just outside Philadelphia — Delco, as it is sometimes called — where the sports pubs are plentiful, where a certain easy familiarity with forms of gambling prevails, where guys have bookies like they have got dentists.
Battista was a monster of that planet. He was what is known as a mover. Strictly speaking, movers are gamblers nor bookmakers. They are a species of agent that supplies solutions to sports bettors, putting down wagers in their customers’ benefit with bookmakers of various types around the world, lawful and not. Battista was set well in that world which, without Donaghy’s understanding but predicated on Donaghy’s selections, he had helped set up a sort of loose, disorderly hedge fund. Several people from the sports-betting underworld had, in consequence, staked Battista a basketball — a finance he was now having to bet on games officiated with this one NBA referee. One member of the team called it”the ticket” and”the corporation.”
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