Friday, December 11, 2009
Lucky Leo makes living off OTB tickets
From Fox 5:
Without placing a single bet, a man in New York City has made a decent living on off-track-betting. Jesus Leonardo collects discarded betting slips (many of them) and finds winners that others have tossed, according to The New York Times.
"It is literally found money," he said to the paper. Leonardo spends more than 10 hours a day feeding the found slips through a ticket scanner. He said he has been doing this for the last 10 years and figures that he has won about half a million dollars on thoroughbred races across the country.
Off-track betting, or OTB, refers to sanctioned gambling on horse racing outside a race track.
Leonardo is a "stooper" -- a person who hangs around racetracks and betting parlors picking up tickets thrown away by others. Stoopers have been part of racing since the 1930s; they are tolerated as long as they do not harass customers.
He collects thousands of tickets each day. He even hired two others to collects tickets at other betting parlors. He takes the trash home and organizes the tickets into stacks of 300, then returns the next day and feeds them through the ticket scanner. The work is intense enough that he takes a lunch break.
According to The Times, Leonardo, who has a wife and two teenage boys, fell into his career in 1999 after tossing a $900 winning ticket and then frantically searching for it. He collected tossed tickets, but never found his winner, instead he found two other winners worth $2000. He has been doing it ever since.
His winnings are all filed with the IRS.