Steve Stevens, the star of an upcoming CNBC reality show called “Money Talks,” is being called a fraud and an ex-convict by some of the most prominent people in the sports betting world today.
Stevens has a business where he sells sports betting picks called VIP Sports Las Vegas.
The CNBC press release for the show calls him “a well-known handicapper,” and a promo video on his company’s website claims he has a winning percentage of 71.5%. The show is a “docu-soap,” and it’s set to air Sept. 10.
But apparently no one in Vegas has heard of Stevens, and his 70% winning percentage is considered impossible.
Even worse, a damning report from WagerMinds lays out evidence alleging that his name is actually Darin Notaro, and he has been arrested multiple times for telemarketing fraud.
Todd Fuhrman, a former oddsmaker at Caesar’s Palace, wrote in a blog post yesterday, “No one, and I mean no one, in the sports betting community I speak with daily knows who this guy is.”
Bob Voulgaris, a popular sharp NBA bettor, said on Twitter last night that he’d never heard of Stevens either, calling him “a complete scam artist” for the 70% claim.
WagerMinds — a sports betting website that is focused on transparency in the industry — also said they’ve never heard of him in their article.
The 70% claim was a red flag for a lot of sports betting folks. Voulgaris, whom Nate Silver called the best sports bettor in the world, only wins about 57% of his NBA bets. SportsInsights ran the numbers in June and found that your chances of winning 70% of bets against the spread are about one in one trillion.
It’s basically impossible to win 70%, but the VIP Sports Las Vegas website is using that claim to sell its picks to customers. Here’s the promo video from the website (with NSFW language):
A CNBC spokesman told us in a statement that viewers will have to draw their own conclusions about Stevens’ business, adding, “We are merely betting that viewers will be interested in the world of touts and handicappers and in no way endorse either Stevens’ picks or his business model.”
While CNBC says it doesn’t endorse his business, there’s a website called CNBCvipsports.com that directs readers to the VIP Sports Las Vegas site and asks readers for their email addresses and phone numbers.
A CNBC spokesman told us, “He is not authorised to use the CNBC name or logo.” CNBC declined comment on whether or not they’re taking steps to remove the association on the website.
The website boasts, “You may have seen VIP Sports on the new CNBC show Money Talks. If so you know Steve Stevens is the real deal.”
Before we jump on CNBC, there’s a big difference between Stevens being a fraud and the show itself being a fraud. We’ll have to wait to see how he is portrayed.
But that’s not all.
This morning, WagerMinds reported that the domain name for Stevens’ business VIP Sports Las Vegas was only registered eight months ago. It was registered under the name Darin Notaro.
According to WagerMinds, Notaro has been arrested and convicted in telemarketing scams going back to 1999. He was sentenced to a year in prison at age 25 for a scheme that “bilked elderly citizens across the nation out of at least $234,000,” according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Judging by this screenshot from WagerMinds, they look alike:
According to WagerMinds, it appears that Notaro also rents the office space where VIP Sports Las Vegas is housed.
A CNBC spokesman said they are aware of the 1999 conviction. Here’s the full statement:
“We are aware of Steve Stevens’ 1999 conviction and while we are very clear in the press release that VIP Sports clients risk big dollars in the hopes that Stevens and his agents have the expertise to consistently deliver winners, viewers should tune in on September 10th at 10pm ET/PT to draw their own conclusions about VIP Sports. We are merely betting that viewers will be interested in the world of touts and handicappers and in no way endorse either Stevens’ picks or his business model.”
We called the number provided on the VIP Sports Las Vegas website and left a message. We are waiting a response.
Again, we’ll have to wait until the show airs to see if he is portrayed as what he claims to be (a big-shot sports bettor) or what many in the betting community see him as (a shady figure).
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