Saturday, April 4, 2020

Casper Holstein - Bolito

Egbert Joseph was born on December 7, 1876, in Christiansted, St. Croix, Danish West Indies, now known as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Holstein and his mother moved to New York in 1894. He joined the U.S. Navy for the Spanish-American war and served on the U.S.S. Saratoga.

He studied the numbers game and made his own. Called 'Bolito,' players would pick a three-number combination, which Holstein paid out 600 to one, while the real odds of any number were 999 to one. His profits were enormous and by 1920 he had become famous in the New York underworld as the “Bolito King.”
In 1928 Holstein was kidnapped and beaten by five white men who demanded $50k. They released him three days later with no ransom paid. It emerged that gangster Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer was behind the kidnapping. Schultz wanted to take over the city’s numbers racket, and he succeeded.

In 1935, the same year Schultz was gunned down, Holstein was sent to prison to 3 years on gambling charges. Holstein died in Harlem on April 5, 1944.