Feds used to be fun part of Super Bowl Sunday

February 07, 2017 3:00 AM


The best Super Bowl shows weren’t always on the field or at halftime. The Feds put on a few good SB shows also.

They used the event in the early 70’s to raid Churchill Downs sportsbook on occasion. The raids were a means to an end for several reasons. They figured it would be the time most under the table money and records would be there.

Of course neither was on premises or anywhere else to be found. The Super Bowl raids also made semi important headlines and helped pad resumes.

Another raid on Churchill looking for Super Bowl money was a bit different. Burglars broke through the Churchill office wall from inside the drug store next-door. They knew exactly where the safe was hidden and second cash stash also. Go figure.

Yet another Super Bowl Sunday in the 70’s caught me personally in the loop. That Sunday morning I headed for Bill Darks Del Mar Race & Sportsbook in North Las Vegas to get down on the game. I arrived, parked my jalopy and headed for the front door.

As I was going in a couple guys were coming out. They spoke and held the door for me. Nice guys huh? I enter the sportsbook and everyone is watching the lone TV intently. It’s a calm crowd for a Super Bowl Sunday though and for good reason.

Those nice fellows who held the door for me just stuck up the joint. These guys were not your gangstas of today but real pros. They announced the stickup with the show of a shotgun and a pistol. They kept it calm as they passed the hat and relieved everyone of their BRs. They of course emptied the cash drawer behind the counter.

Before making their getaway they disabled the phones, turned on the lone TV and told everyone to stay put and watch. The last thing they took was everyone’s car keys, telling everyone they would throw them on the roof outside so they wouldn’t have to get new ones. Just watch TV and don’t move.

Then out the door they went, holding it open for me. I didn’t have a clue, they hid the shotgun under a trench coat. Even after a few moments inside I didn’t know what just came down because everyone was calmly watching TV.

The bandits were never caught but I wonder how much they got out of this North Las Vegas crowd of scufflers. Not as much as a Strip sportsbook of course but Del Mar was a much safer place to rob. Half their customers wouldn’t talk because they were on the lam themselves.

Unique shows for sure, not Lady Gaga unique, but there was a time when Las Vegas race and sportsbooks had the best side shows in town. Take care.

Scotty at www.wiseguys.com