I am not sure I understand the meaning of a sentence in The Given Day from Dennis Lehane

Luther would soon have ample time to consider how he’d fallen into running numbers for the Deacon, and it would take him a while to realize that it had nothing to do with money.


"Running numbers" refers to working for an illegal lottery scheme, generally as a low-level member. See the Numbers Game article in Wikipedia, particularly the "In Popular Culture" section.

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