Beware of bogus tout services

August 13, 2002 11:51 AM
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Along with the football season comes the tout services onslaught. Every summer, new handicappers seem to come out of the woodwork to hawk their services.

The advent of the Internet has made it easier for touts to deliver their message. Through their advertising campaigns, touts typically make lofty claims but seldom deliver.

"It doesn’t take much to call yourself a handicapper," said the owner of a popular Las Vegas betting service. "All you need is a willingness to market effectively and take people’s money."

Most tout services rely on the telephone to find and keep customers. Here are a few guidelines the handicapping service owner suggests should help players separate the legitimate handicappers from the so-called "scamdicappers."

”¡ If a tout claims ridiculous winning percentages, hang up! Promises of 70%, 80% or 90% winners will never be fulfilled. Even the best handicappers have win rates in the high 50’s and low 60% range, which is good enough to turn a profit. If the claims sound unbelievable, they probably are.

”¡ If the first thing a tout service asks for is your phone number, hang up! Give them your phone number and you’ll be hounded daily.

”¡ If a tout asks how much money you plan to wager, hang up! That’s none of their business. Many "scamdicappers" price their picks based on the customer’s bankroll. A legitimate handicapper charges everyone the same amount.

”¡ If a tout promises additional picks if the first one loses, hang up! These "guarantees" reveal lack of confidence in the tout. And why would you want a second pick from an already known loser?

”¡ If you receive an unsolicited call from a tout, hang up! The service probably bought your number from another one and is probably just a boiler room operation dealing in the numbers game.

”¡ If the tout service is rude, hang up! Although this sounds like common sense, many players accept rudeness as part of the handicapper’s aura. It’s not. If a tout is rude to you before he picks your pocket, imagine how he can be after he’s banked your dough and the selections are losers.