Policy is "Tops" in Gambling

Pitchers Policy House

Skinny Pitchers Policy House on the 600 block of Poplar St.

In addition to Gambler’s Row in downtown Champaign there were also the Policy Houses in Champaign‘s north end. ‘Policy’ (aka the numbers game) was the go-to form of gambling for the poor and working class because the game took bets for as little as a penny. In a policy game the bettor attempts to pick 3 numbers that will be randomly drawn the following day. The bettor places their bet with a ‘writer’ who carries the money and the betting slips from the streets to the policy houses where the drawings are held.

Dixon's Policy House

Gus Dixon’s Policy House on the 600 block Poplar St.

In Champaign there were 3 policy houses: Klemick’s (709 N Fourth St.), Skinny Pitchers (600 block Poplar St.), and Gus Dixon’s (600 block Poplar St. across the street from Skinny Pitchers). Dixon’s was the only policy house operated by an African-American. Many criticized the policy games for taking money from people who could least afford it, but each policy house employed 25-40 writers who were mostly African-Americans at a time when local employment opportunities were extremely limited for African-Americans due to discrimination and segregation.

Klemick's Policy House

Klemick’s Policy House at 709 N Fourth St.