James”Jimmy””Bah-Bah””The Sheep” Battista was a stressed-out, overweight, Oxy-addicted 41-year-old, in the pit to a underground gamblers for sums he’d sort of lost track of, even when he settled in to watch an NBA game for which he thought he would simply put in the correct. It was January 2007. A month or so ago, not long before Christmas, he’d done something audacious: He had sat down and cut a deal with an NBA referee. Now he feared that the scheme had become overly obvious.
“You want get compensated?” Battista had said to the ref. “Then you gotta pay the f–ing spread.” The bribe was only two dimes, $2,000 per game — an outrageous deal. If the choice won, the ref got his two dimes. In case the pick missed, then the ref owed nothing; Battista would eat the loss. A”free roster,” as they call it. But this referee did not lose much. His selections were winning in an 88% clip, entirely unheard of sports betting for any sustained time period. They’re now entering the sixth week of the scheme — what you could call a sustained period of time.
Battista had understood the ref, Timmy Donaghy, for 25 years. They had gone to the exact same parochial high school in the suburban neighborhoods of Delaware County, just outside Philadelphia — Delco, since it is sometimes called — in which the sports pubs are plentiful, where a certain easy familiarity with all forms of gambling prevails, where guys have bookies like they’ve got dentists.
Battista was a monster of that world. He was what’s known as a mover. Strictly speaking, movers are gamblers nor bookmakers. They’re a species of agent that supplies solutions to sports bettors, putting down wagers on their customers’ benefit with bookmakers of various types around the Earth, legal and not. Battista was set well enough in that world which, without Donaghy’s understanding but based on Donaghy’s selections, he had helped set up a kind of loose, disorderly hedge fund. Several individuals from the sports-betting underworld had, in consequence, staked Battista a basketball — a finance he was currently having to bet games officiated with this one NBA referee. 1 member of this team called it”the ticket” and”the corporation.”
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