James“Jimmy““Bah-Bah““The Sheep“ Battista was a stressed-out, overweight, Oxy-addicted 41-year-old, at the pit to a underground gamblers for sums he’d kind of lost track of, even when he settled in to watch an NBA game he thought he would simply put in the correct. It was January 2007. A month or so back, not long before Christmas, he had done something adventuresome: He’d sat down and cut a deal with an NBA referee. Now he feared the scheme had become overly obvious.
„You want get compensated?“ Battista had said to the ref. „Then you gotta cover the f–ing spread.“ The bribe was two dimes, $2,000 per game — an outrageous bargain. If the pick won, the ref got his two dimes. If the choice missed, the ref owed nothing; Battista would consume the reduction. A“free roster,“ as they call it. But this referee did not lose much. His picks were winning at an 88% clip, totally unheard of in sports gambling for any sustained period of time. They’re now entering the sixth week of this scheme — what you might call a sustained period of time.
Battista had known the ref, Timmy Donaghy, for 25 decades. They had gone to the same parochial high school in the working-class Catholic areas of Delaware County, just outside Philadelphia — Delco, as it’s sometimes called — where the sports bars are abundant, where a particular easy familiarity with forms of gambling prevails, where guys have bookies like they have got dentists.
Battista was a creature of the planet. He was what is called a mover. Strictly speaking, movers are gamblers nor bookmakers. They’re a species of agent that provides solutions to sports bettors, putting down wagers in their customers‘ benefit with bookmakers of various types around the Earth, legal and not. Battista was set well in that world which, without Donaghy’s knowledge but based on Donaghy’s selections, he’d helped set up a kind of loose, disorderly hedge fund. Several people from the sports-betting underworld had, in effect, staked Battista a basketball — a fund that he was now using to bet games officiated by this one NBA referee. One member of this group called it“the ticket“ and“the corporation.“
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