Monday, June 25, 2018

When “Numbers” Was The Most Dangerous Game For Negroes 1961

With the legalisation of the once underground gambling racket in the Bahamas, called ‘Numbers,’ it is easy to forget just how dangerous, and deadly a game it once was for Bahamians. Discrimination against negro gambling on religious grounds, while The Bahamas itself benefited economically from tourist gambling, was a purposeful historical bias, whose roots were almost certainly racial.

In fact, for negroes in America, in 1960-1961, the historical bias mirrored that of the Bahamas.

Negro lottery operators in the Bahamas were branded as criminals, subjected to raids and harassment, while the very same operations for tourist gambling were supported, often underwritten with government assistance, in the form of promotional advertising.

Problems arose as Bahamian Numbers operations grew larger, while their operators became wealthier. When they began to diversify, to invest their monies in various other businesses like hotels, the more focused the 1960-1961 Bahamas government became in shutting them down.

More raids were made.

More arrests were conducted.