CNBC's decision to bring "Steve Stevens" on board for a reality TV show on sports betting has caused quite a stir and over the weekend several respected sports betting personalities spoke up.
Todd Fuhrman, owner of ToddsTake.com and a former odds-maker at Caesars Palace, blogged, “We're seeing a disturbing trend start to emerge; the proliferation of docudramas, movies and articles that lead to sensationalizing dishonest personalities within the sports betting industry.”
“The media consciously chooses to validate the wrong personalities, creating an aura around characters that are no better than modern-day carnies.
"No one, and I mean no one knows Stevens.
“My disgust with the topic runs deeper and is with the supposedly reputable [television] network for their half-baked attempt to do appropriate research on the featured personality. Did they talk to respected voices in the field? Did they reach out to actual sportsbook operators? Did they track Stevens for at least two seasons to see if his claims were warranted before giving him his own show?”
Howard Kurtz, a Fox News media analyst, said, “It certainly doesn't inspire confidence for CNBC to showcase a man with this kind of checkered history. What I find particularly stunning is that the network is telling viewers to draw their own conclusions as if this were a guy who was merely controversial for his opinions as opposed to his financial shenanigans.”
“By giving Stevens this platform, CNBC is implicitly vouching for him and no corporate PR statement can change that.”
CNBC knows of Stevens' history and told Fox News, “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 10 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.”