Premiering Wednesday, March 19, on CNBC, "Money Talks" profiles Steve Stevens (real name Darin Notaro), the Las Vegas-based owner of VIP Sports, which handicaps pro and college sports and then sells that information to gamblers.
Along with providing information that benefits the customers, the company must also drum up new business, and it has a staff of sales agents working the phones to close deals with new clients.
"I'm born and raised in Las Vegas," says Notaro to Zap2it, "so I've been involved in gambling my entire life. When I was 12 years old, I was making parlays."
Notaro started just out of high school in telemarketing and was very good at it. But when the company ran afoul of the law, Notaro wound up in jail at 19 years old and served 18 months.
"When I looked back on what I did," he says, "I knew that it was wrong, but I realized that I wasn't really such a bad guy. I just realized I took my sales talent and was selling the wrong product. It's pretty much all about the product. I didn't own the company. These people were doing all the ownership, and I just read a script and was good at it."
So Notaro took his telemarketing experience and turned it instead toward selling sports-handicapping information. He also places a bet himself from time to time.
"Do I bet every day, all day?" he says. "No, I don't. But yeah, I make big bets. I find marquee matchups I like and do it. That's actually why I opened up my company. It's smarter to use other people's money and focus with them.
"I took my passion of what I used to do myself, spread it out against the world. I'd rather get a small commission off millions than just whatever I can afford to bet."
Photo/Video credit: CNBC