Tuesday, March 1, 2011

BingoGate: 12,000 phone calls recorded. How do you like those odds?

News reports covering yesterday’s opening of the three day hearing on the admissibility of the wiretap recordings in the bingo case say that, according to the FBI’s Doug Carr, more than 12,000 phone calls were recorded during the wiretap phase of the investigation.

That’s an awful lot of phone calls. For the 12 total defendants involved in the case, that’s an average of about 1,000 calls per defendant over about a one month period. Since this is a case involving gambling and legislation aimed at putting legalization of slot machine-like bingo games in state casinos, a post like this is absolutely obligatory.

All it takes is one intercepted phone call to roast a defendant on wrong doing.  For those doing the math, that is a 0.00833% chance that the FBI didn’t get the goods on you.

That means there is a 0.00833% (that’s 8.33 thousandths of one percent) chance that no one on those calls discussed funneling extra benefits to players at the college football team McGregor et al cheered for.

By way of comparison, you have a 0.0311% chance, or 1-in-3,216 odds of being dealt a straight flush in a seven card game of poker. However, even if you step on an airplane run by one of the bottom 25 airlines, you can relax. The odds of dying in the crash are only 1 in 843,744, or about seven times smaller.

So, what are the chances that something incriminating is on the tapes?  Well, it’s not as safe as flying on a lousy airline, but your chances of hitting that elusive royal flush in one of Uncle Milty’s casinos is much better.

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