In bingo Italian , cheating from the player's side is not unknown.  And where successful, of course, it is not the operator who loses but the other players.  The New York Sun reported that in 1960 a rich elderly woman, then using a pseudonym, had admitted to fraudulently capturing $ 250,000 during her bingo sessions in halls all over America.  Her method (which she said she would only fully reveal in her memoirs)  had needed two assistants and complete sets of the various cards used in particular halls- as well as a photographic memory and the ability to substitute cardsgame under the eyes of people sitting around her.  (She did, however, admit that he method no longer worked once operators began fixing serial numbers to both cards and markers.) But cheating on this scale is confined to countries like America, where the large prizes make the effort and the considerable risks involved worthwhile.

Football & baseball pools have already been discussed in Chapter 4, as forms of gambling on spectator sports.  But, being pools, they are also a form of sweepstakes; i.e., the winners' prizes vary according to the amount of money in the pool and according to the number of winners.  The prizes for winners of the sports pools are often extremely large, and therefore elaborate precautions are taken to prevent cheating.  The organizers of one of the biggest British football pools have security measures that are apparently foolproof.  And they need to be, when you consider the company's 10,000 employees (most of whom are concerned with checking coupons) as well as the many thousands of post-office employees who, in theory, have opportunities to plant coupons in the mail after the results of the football games are known.

A lottery ticket , from Macao (the Portuguese colony in China) that might have won a first prize worth $ 300,000.  The sale of these tickets is illegal outside Macao.

The routine precautions include the following: snap searches of employees; four separate code stampings of every coupon received; codes changed at unpredictable intervals; personal watch by ex-police security men on all mail deliveries and collections; locking and sealing of every door and window in the many checking buildings as soon as the kick-offs of the week's card games are signaled; interruption by security men of any incoming or outgoing telephone calls after kick-off time; secret checking of the security men themselves by another group of unknown security men; and complete banning of all kinds of radio receives within the building at all times.

Dream books are used by many superstitious gamblers to predict winners in pools and lotteries.  Below, a modern Chinese dream book from Hong Kong.  The gambler looks up the key image of his dream and bets on the corresponding number.

In addition, the entire collection of the week's coupons kept in sealed bags in a guarded strong room; there is a thorough investigation of any and every coupon arriving after the normal deliveries of mail on the day of the matches, whether or not a claim is subsequently made; and special watches are kept on the coupons of those who win prizes in two or more consecutive weeks. All genuine winning seven card stud coupons are carefully screened; additional investigations are made if the winner has sent in a coupon for the first time, or has apparently changed any "system" he may previously have been using, or has posted his coupon later in the week than has been customary with him.

A British football-pools coupon that won a bettor the equivalent of $ 560,000 for 70 cents staked (in 1959).  Sports pools are a thriving gamble almost everywhere.  In Britain one of the biggest football-pools companies employs over 10,000 people.

A whole season's envelops and coupons are filed, and there are constant probes into any peculiarities that may be revealed in the coupons of consistent winners; and all prizes are independently checked by an accountant from the local government.  Such full-scale precautions against cheating are a feature of practically every big legal lottery- the Irish Sweep, the state lotteries, and so on.  Thus the ordinary gambler is reassured that chance and chance alone dictates the fate of his bet.

This "safety" factor is a major reason for the popularity of the world's lotteries: But consider also that english gambling house on lotteries involves no skill or special knowledge, can produce huge wins for small stakes, and can be done almost anywhere by anyone at any time.  It's hardly surprising, then, that lotteries in their various forms can today rival horse racing (in practically every country except America ) as man's favorite gamble.

Girls sort bettors postal orders, according to value, to be counted on high speed machines.  Far right, an electronic computer double-checks all coupons.  Below right, the large checking room where employees carefully examine and record details of each football coupon entered, to find winners and to prevent errors or cheating.