February 18, 2012

STOOP TO YONKERS:

Not Betting a Dime, He Cleans Up at the Slots (COREY KILGANNON, 2/12/12, NY Times)

Mr. Bemsel has been a devoted horseplayer since getting hooked at Monmouth Park on the Jersey Shore at age 16. After high school, he worked in a warehouse until he was 40, when he saw a man at Freehold Raceway in New Jersey pulling betting slips out of the trash. He became a top stooper, and he still never misses the huge stooping jackpots: the Kentucky Derby, and August in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he and three other stoopers rent a house to work the racing session.

On Wednesday, he strode quickly through the two huge casino levels, checking several thousand video terminals -- with optimistic names like Instant Winner, Stinkin' Rich and Wall Street Winner -- and accumulating a fistful of vouchers, to be redeemed at a nearby window.

He works 12-hour days and finds $600 to $1,200 a week, Mr. Bemsel said, but winds up blowing most of it on bad horse picks. "The whole reason I do this is to feed my gambling addiction," he said. "It's an illness."

The racino has been a godsend, he said, because "the golden years of stooping are over."

In those days, he said, he could make $1,000 a day, and he stayed regularly in Las Vegas and Atlantic City suites.

He paused during his racino rounds on Wednesday and said, "I'll hit a big one, one of these days, and be back on top."
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Posted by at February 18, 2012 7:32 AM
  

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