Definition of numbers game in English:

numbers game

noun

  • 1derogatory The use or manipulation of statistics or figures, especially in support of an argument.

    ‘MPs were today playing the numbers game as the vote drew closer’
    • ‘People were playing numbers games by building flats but we are all about quality and good design.’
    • ‘The result shows people are fed up with being part of a numbers game and want to be taken seriously.’
    • ‘It's not necessarily the numbers game other businesses are.’
    • ‘With all players having a last opportunity to impress, it proved highly competitive but the numbers game dictates there will be disappointment today.’
    • ‘‘The government has lost the numbers game and is facing a hostile public inquiry because of its maladministration of the consultation process,’ Davis told us.’
    • ‘In democratic societies, that can ultimately mean that such rights are rights only insofar as they serve the aim of a majority, and are subject to the vagaries of the numbers game that is voting.’
    • ‘I think too many of us in the media profession have labored so long in the trenches that we've internalized the numbers game of our business and measure the worth of a publication by the size of its audience.’
    • ‘Electioneering isn't much about politics: it's a numbers game.’
    • ‘You can play the numbers game - that vague statistic which says one in 10 people are gay or lesbian.’
    • ‘Youth culture is being sold to other generations because marketing is a numbers game.’
    • ‘Jim McBride, chef de mission of the Irish team, tries to ensure the athletes know it is a numbers game without that message figuring too much in their preparations.’
    • ‘The most cruel were the British who seem keen to play a numbers game with people's lives, claiming to have deported such and such simply because there is an election coming up.’
    • ‘The Toronto-based advocate for same-sex marriage says human rights should never be subject to a numbers game.’
    • ‘Maybe we all, priests and people, need to leave behind the numbers game and start playing the reality game.’
    • ‘A background in maths teaching is not required to know that full-time football management is a numbers game.’
    • ‘At some level, direct marketing is a numbers game; like fishing with dynamite, it's not sporting but it works.’
    • ‘Politics is a numbers game, and you win by getting votes.’
    • ‘I am tired of playing the numbers game with government officials who simply do all they can to avoid facing up to the truth of this issue.’
    • ‘But more important than playing the numbers game is personal integrity.’
  • 2North American A lottery based on the occurrence of unpredictable numbers in the results of races, a lottery, etc.

    • ‘It is not a crime to buy a lottery ticket, even in an illegal numbers games.’
    • ‘Ladbrokes' press office confirmed to me that they had suffered some losses in the east end of Glasgow, in particular, but nothing sinister was at work because in this glorified numbers game the results are generated at random by computer.’
    • ‘Then she jumps in to describe how the numbers racket operated, how they avoided arrest and what happened when you hit.’
    • ‘When he was in the numbers racket, an illegal lottery that died out after the advent of legalised lotteries, he used to make complex computations in his head, creating no physical evidence for police to find.’
    • ‘A ‘Housie’ game has been started which is based on the popular numbers game of ‘Tambola’, a must in all social gatherings.’
    • ‘And the numbers racket in the Bahamas - that's a whole different story.’
    • ‘And how are we going to clean out the criminal elements that pander to everything from the numbers game to illegal work permits and drug running?’
    • ‘We can deal more effectively with drug dealers and organized crime figures that run lotteries and numbers rackets and things like that than with terrorists.’
    • ‘There are two special interest groups holding the national lottery back - the churches and the operators of the illegal numbers games.’
    • ‘Racing was broadcast from far-flung destinations, such as Italy, South Africa and Dubai, while extra lottery-style numbers games were brought in.’
    • ‘That is good news, because numbers games are already a curse in most betting shops, and what is betting on the lottery if not just another numbers racket?’
    • ‘On top of that there are the dogs, the poker machines, the fruit machines, the numbers games, heads ‘n tails, innumerable lotteries, ridiculous ‘special bets’, football, and all other sports, plus the virtual reality rubbish.’
    • ‘The illegal numbers racket, known locally as the togel, for instance, is popular in most kampongs.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Dixie's younger brother Vinnie starts a street war with Dutch over the income from the numbers racket.’
    • ‘Last summer, five young men went on a boat ride for an odd job, and they disappeared on a ‘Pedro’ drug run. ‘Pedro’ runs the illicit numbers games and makes millions, and even the police haunt his internet ‘cafes’.’
    • ‘In bookmaking, the future appears to have less and less to do with horse racing and more and more to do with what ever version of a computerised numbers game their in-house demented geniuses can dream up.’
    • ‘Their father, Nate, has his own fair share of problems with an ailing burlesque theatre and a numbers racket that backfires, leaving him in debt to a small - time hood and drug dealer.’
    • ‘It is like the spin of a roulette wheel, or a numbers game.’
    • ‘When it was totally illegal, the Mafia ran prostitution and the numbers rackets right through Chicago and right through New York.’
    • ‘There is also a cafe that should remain nameless, a hangout for ‘workers’, the guys who do the legwork for local mobsters running numbers games.’
    lottery, draw, prize draw, sweepstake, sweep, tombola, ballot
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