Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rope in v.

[Schele de Vere, Georgia Scenes (1872): ‘Rope in, to, in the sense of gathering in, enlisting, is a bold metaphor derived from the common practice of gathering the cut hay of a meadow by means of a long rope, drawn by a horse’]
[mid-19C+] (orig. US)

1. to swindle or cheat; to ensnare a victim into a (crooked) gambling game; thus the rope, the snare that is used.

2. to involve, to include, to force someone to be involved [post-1920 use is SE].

3. as rope in the pieces, to make money.

4. to arrest.

In compounds