Watch Out, Sports Betting Touts: New Nevada Bill Would Regulate Pickers In The State

Written By Dustin Gouker on November 21, 2018

Sports betting touts like RJ Bell would have to register with the state of Nevada, if a new piece of legislation becomes law.

Nevada Senate Bill 46 was introduced in the state legislature on Wednesday that would require “the Nevada Gaming Commission to provide by regulation for the operation and registration of tout services and persons associated therewith.”

With the legalization of sports betting in states outside of Nevada, it’s certainly causing a growth spurt in the touting industry. More interest in sports betting means more people trying to make money from selling picks or giving advice about sports gambling.

Touting around sports wagering has long been considered a problematic part of the industry. Many of the people who offer their picks for money 1. are not terribly transparent about their overall accuracy 2. not winning bettors.

Regulating sports betting touts

The legislation makes a number of changes to existing gaming law. But in the 16-page bill, and indeed at the very top of it, is a section that would require touts to register with the state.
The bill does not get too much into details, but the intent — to provide some level of accountability in touting — is clear.

Here is some of what the bill would do:

  • It would require registration with state gaming regulators if they own or operate a tout service, or if they have “a significant involvement” with one.
  • Touts “may” have to be found “suitable to be associated with licensed gaming, including race book or sports pool operations.”
  • Fees for registration would be determined by the Nevada Gaming Commission, which is given authority to take other steps to flesh out regulation of tout services.

The bill would have to pass by a two-thirds majority vote — and be signed by the governor — to become law.

So what’s the bill actually do?

Given the lack of details, there’s a question of what the bill would accomplish in reality.

It would seem like the bill could simply serve to give legitimacy to touts by requiring them to register with the state and pay fees to do what they do. There are no minimum standards of what — if anything — they would have to adhere to keep the registration, or if it would actually help create transparency for those who sell their picks.

It also seems to be problematic to enforce beyond the services that actually exist in Nevada. There are plenty of people just selling generic “sports betting picks” that have nothing to with the Nevada sports betting industry directly and exist outside of the state. They could be touting sports betting picks for people who bet at offshore sportsbooks, land-based bookies around the country or in states with a legal wagering industry, like New Jersey, Mississippi and others.

Transparency in sports betting prediction?

People are paying for sports betting picks and advice, and have for a long time. They do it in the hopes of getting an edge wherever they are betting.

Certainly, creating accountability in that sector would be good for the future of sports betting, because people selling crappy picks for money is a blight on the whole ecosystem.

But is it really a state’s role to get involved in people who tout? It’s a potential slippery slope for dealing with anyone in the advice-giving/prediction-making business. (The difference here is this involves gaming, which is obviously a highly regulated industry to start with.)

Anyway, creating some kind of accountability for sports betting touts is an admirable goal. But it’s not 100 percent clear that this bill would truly change anything on that front.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. You can also find his work at Legal Sports Report.

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