According to Amazon.com, the Random House Historical Dictionary of
American Slang H-R is out! I haven't finished antedating the first one.
"Gyp joint" is defined as "a business establishment that makes a
practice of fleecing customers." The earliest HDAS citation is in 1927 by T.
A. Dorgan, cited from the TAD LEXICON. As with the "hot dog," TAD didn't
coin the term.
This is from Variety, 6 January 1926, pg. 11, last column (5?):
Skull Examiners Visited
Many on Avenues
The phrenologists' "joints" that have sprung up like mushrooms just east
and west of the "big stem" (Broadway--ed.) are in for a cleanup, according to
Plainclothes Patrolman Charles Stapleton and Harold O'Neil of the West 47th
street station. Within a few days they "bagged" three. All were convicted.
In one case a suspended sentence was imposed. In the other two $10 fines
were meted out.
These alleged "gypsies" have migrated from other cities. Some came from
Canada. Maspeth, L. I. also sent a quota. They have "camped" on 6th, 7th,
8th and 9th avenues. At least a score of places are in operation.
During the day the "Romany" mother or sister in her gaudy costume stands
inside of the entrance. She raps on the glass panel to attract passersby.
She beckons and if lucky gets a customer. Inside the "camps" are countless
"Mother Gypsy" phrenologist, according to the sign on the door, beings
to read one's cranium. First she exacts her fee of $1. Then she starts out
looking for bumps.
First, the "gypsy" requests you place both hands in your hip pockets.
That is to determine if you are a "bull." (...)
CAN THEY GIVE ME SIX LOTTO NUMBERS??