|1.||Playing the numbers|
A predecessor to state-run lotteries in the 1960s and '70s that thrived in poor neighborhoods.
The number was determined on a given day, by taking the second and third digits from the total amount of money in bank clearances from a predetermined bank, and the third digit in the Federal Reserve Bank's credit balance. On a day when the bank clearings were $589 million and the Fed's credit balance $116 million, the "89" from the first amount was combined with the "6" of the second to establish the day's winning number, 896.
Say, man You going to be playing the numbers today? Give me a nickel on 821. Make sure you combinate me.