The Chicago Outfit Makes Its Move

Oct 14, 2009 - by Ron Chepesiuk - 0 Comments

September 7, 2007

Salvatore Giancana
Salvatore Giancana

by Ron Chepesiuk

Editor's Note: "Policy" is a form of lottery in which a ticket is purchased and numbers selected, with the winning numbers announced at a drawing. No one knows for sure how the policy game began, but the Sixteenth century European countries were using the lottery to raise money for the state. In the United States, Virginia first introduced a lottery game in the Seventeenth century, and it spread across the country during the next century.

The policy game first appeared in the 1880s in New Orleans, and then spread to New York, Chicago and other cities with large African-American populations. Some historians believe that the name "policy" derives from the practice of blacks playing the game with money meant for insurance policies.

In the policy game, 78 numbers (1 to 78) are wrapped in special containers and dropped in a drum-shaped container or "wheel" from which numbers are drawn. The player selects a certain amount of numbers, the most common being three numbers, or a "gig," betting that the combination of numbers chosen will "fall" or win in the next drawing of winning numbers. The policy operator was known as a "banker" and the games they ran as "banks."

Once back on the streets, Sam "Mooney" Giancana wasted no time pursuing his take over plan for the Black Belt policy racket. He followed up on Ed Jones's jailhouse offer to help set him up in policy and arranged a meeting with Ed's brother, George, at the family's Ben Franklin store. The following evening, he met with Paul Ricca and Jake Guzik, two leading members of The Outfit, Chicago's powerful white mafia.

Giancana was confident that the mob bosses would see the light. "Once those guys see there's money in this. Money…big money…Well, shit. I'll be on my way," Sam told his brother Chuck.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Ricca and Guzik were part of the so called "Big Six" who ruled The Outfit. The other heavyweight godfathers included Joe Adonis, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky and Longy Zwillman. As a young and ambitious gangster, Guzik developed a close relationship with Al Capone, who came to depend on him while organizing the Chicago underworld. Guzik was the Chicago mob's financial wizard for nearly two decades, and his role in arranging payoffs to police and politicians was so valuable that his mob colleagues nicknamed him the "Greasy Thumb."

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