VAT: Will the U.S. Adopt a Value-Added Tax?

President Obama has pledged no tax increases for 95 percent of the population, and most Republicans flinch at the “T” word in any form. When a business calculates its VAT payment, it deducts the tax paid at the previous stage, based on records every company along the chain keeps. needs a money machine.” A VAT, because it touches every transaction, is just that: The Congressional Research Service estimates that each one percent of a value-added tax would raise $50 billion. A VAT is likely to be part of the answer.

This process effectively hides the VAT from open view — unlike state sales taxes, the VAT is buried in the price of the good, not assessed at the cash register. That’s real money.

Neither party shows enthusiasm for taxing you if you are not a plutocrat. That’s one reason the VAT is considered highly efficient — it’s hard to dodge since each link in the VAT chain keeps an eye on the rest.

Until recently, discussion of a U.S. (Interestingly, though, many GOP economists favored a VAT in the 1980s, and Margaret Thatcher supported the VAT when a Tory government instituted it in the U.K.). At some point, the politics we have voted for have to be paid for. It’s easy to see why it’s popular: As a broad-based tax that’s easy to collect and hard to see, a VAT can rake in a lot of money.

The U.S. No one in either party seems interested in taming these leviathans. In addition to Volcker, the head of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad (D-N.D), has mused that a VAT has “got to be on the table,” and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has murmured sweet nothings about it. And its very simplicity and lack of visibility — no tax returns, no obvious hurt at the cash register — raises suspicions that a VAT is a stalking horse for higher spending. “I don’t think we should go in this direction.”

© 2010 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

Americans as a whole did not squawk when spending rose during the Bush administration, and in electing Barack Obama, they voted for bigger government. “There’s very little chance in the next few years,” says Ben Harris, a senior research associate at Brookings, a left-of-center think tank, “but a substantial chance in the next decade or so.” And Ryan Ellis, tax policy director at the right-of-center Americans for Tax Reform, who loathes the idea, says of the VAT, “I think it’s coming, in the next five to 10 years certainly.”

The VAT also comes under attack for being regressive. “We have to think about really revamping the tax system,” said Volcker, who’s best known for successfully beating down inflation while serving as Ronald Reagan’s Federal Reserve chairman. Because lower income people spend a higher portion of their earnings, it may hit them particularly hard.

This story was updated on April 9, 2010.

The VAT’s efficiency in raising money is also why some oppose it. That’s just one idea. But nearly every other industrialized nation has one, and the idea is beginning to spread. should consider using a European-style value added tax to help bring the deficit down, said White House adviser Paul Volcker in response to a question from CBS at a panel discussion in New York City Tuesday night. Ditto for taxing big business more heavily. It comes in different shapes and sizes, ranging from 5 percent in Japan to 25 percent in Sweden. This may be the opportunity to take another real crack at our complicated and inefficient tax code, something last done in 1986.

About 150 countries have a VAT. Top tax rates are already likely to go up to almost 40 percent. (High VAT taxes back home are one reason that Europeans love to shop in the U.S.) A VAT is also relatively simple to administer, so its “dead weight” — the distortion it imposes on the economy above and beyond the price of the tax itself — is minimal.

More on MoneyWatch:

The Best of the Bad?

The case for a VAT is simple: The U.S. Press the buttons of almost any tax wonk in Washington and a different plan spits out; a VAT is part of most of them.

Tax the rich: Always a popular idea, but the math doesn’t add up. “It is almost literally impossible to close the gap on spending alone,” says Michael Linden, associate director of Tax and Budget Policy for the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Find new sources of revenues: If more juice cannot be squeezed from the income and corporate tax code, the logical alternative is to tap a wider base. That number is hard to knock down because the majority of federal spending is for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, all of which are set to grow briskly as baby boomers retire. Current U.S. Ellis, of Americans for Tax Reform, points out that even if federal tax revenues return to their 40-year average of 18 to 20 percent of GDP (in 2009, it dipped to about 15 percent), the spending promises on the books for 2010 and beyond start at some 25 percent of GDP. And the logical way to do that is to pass a VAT. “I think America has prospered because the general level of taxation has been lower than Europe,” says Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute, who prefers spending cuts to new taxes. In fact, interest in a VAT is cropping up all along the ideological spectrum (albeit more often along the leftish end).

Despite long-standing political opposition, the VAT is starting to get attention for the simple reason that it may be the best among several bad options. But make no mistake: a 10 percent VAT would raise the cost of everything 10 percent. It has three options.

What’s to Love and Hate About a VAT?

Last Updated Jun 3, 2010 6:16 PM EDT. A useful rule of economics is that if something cannot go on forever, it will stop. An increase much above that is counterproductive, reducing incentives to work and invest while creating incentives to find tax shelters and other ways to avoid paying. In the most common method, the VAT is assessed on a good at each stage of production and distribution — when the raw material is sold, when the product is manufactured, when a store stocks up, and when the consumer buys it. At some point, even Congress will recognize this fact and be forced to act. The VAT, a levy on all the goods and services you consume, is not a “toxic idea,” he added.

A VAT can be assessed in several different ways. But what about by 2020? The odds narrow sharply. government’s fiscal gap is widening by the hour. The deficit for 2009 alone was a cool $1.4 trillion, and it’s projected to hit $1.6 trillion this year. Even if a VAT started at a low level, say 5 percent, it’s easy to increase the rate, as Europe has proved time and again. As Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan economic advisor who supports a VAT, puts it, “The U.S. corporate tax rate (35 percent) is already among the highest in the world. For example, in his book, 100 Million Unnecessary Returns, Columbia law professor Michael Graetz proposes a 10 to 14 percent value-added tax, but earners making less than $100,000 would pay no income tax at all, and other income and corporate taxes would be reduced. But that isn’t happening. But crisis can create opportunities for reform, and America’s fiscal position is close to crisis. fiscal trends are unsustainable. Raising that is an excellent way to reduce competitiveness.

Cut spending: If government spending were brought into line with revenues, new taxes wouldn’t be needed. The U.S. Alan Greenspan, for one, considers the VAT “the least worst way” to narrow the budget gap.

White House adviser

Paul Volcker (Getty)

To be sure, no one expects a VAT to join the tax code this year or next. VAT had been limited to the back rooms of think tanks and cocktail hours of high-minded conferences. By the end of the year, the Office of Management and Budget says the gross federal debt will stand at $13.8 trillion.

A VAT could be a useful part of a larger reform. And the income tax well is neither wide nor deep enough to fill more than a small piece of the $13.8 trillion hole

Super Bowl 2015: Over-Under, Money Line & Betting Odds

Patriots -110

William Hill: 47.5. That includes the playoffs, where they are 2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS.

BetOnline: Seahawks -105 … The Seahawks were mostly 2.5-point underdogs to the Broncos a year ago, but won handily 43-8.

The OVER has won in 3 of the past 4 Super Bowls.

Golden Nugget: OFF

Bovada: Patriots -1.5

MGM Mirage: 47.5

Click here to read more

The over-under is pretty consistent across the board with most places setting the number at 47.5 total points.

Westgate: Seahawks -120 … Here are some of the best Patriots jerseys and apparel currently available.

This is the Patriots 7th Super Bowl appearance. (Getty)” width=”780″ height=”520″ class=”size-large wp-image-854440″/>Russell Wilson and Seattle Seahawks are slight underdogs in most sportsbooks for Sunday’s Super Bowl. Patriots -110

Super Bowl 2015: Time, Channel, Line  Prediction

Super Bowl Sunday is on the horizon and world will be watching when the Seahawks and Patriots square off for the coveted Lombardi Trophy. (Getty)

Bovada: OFF

Golden Nugget: PICK

Super Bowl Point Spread


BetOnline: 47.5

Patriots Jerseys Apparel: The Most Badass Gear in the NFL Shop

There’s a ton of great Patriots gear in the NFL pro shop. Here are some of the best Seahawks jerseys and apparel currently available.

Here are the lines and odds you need to know:

Pinnacle Sports: Seahawks -1

Super Bowl Over-Under


MGM Mirage: Seahawks -110 … Playoff-wise, Seattle is 2-0 SU and 1-0-1 ATS (according to Bovada’s odds).

For the season, the Patriots are 14-4 straight up and 10-8 against the spread. They were double-digit underdogs in the first 2, but have been favored in the 5 since.

Bovada: 47.5

Super Bowl Money Line


Westgate: Seahawks -1

William Hill: PICK

The underdog has won 6 of the past 7 Super Bowls and 10 of the past 13.

Click here to read more

Pinnacle Sports: 47

Pinnacle Sports: Seahawks 1.869 … Patriots +100

Seahawks Jerseys Apparel: The Most Badass Gear in the NFL Shop

There’s a ton of great Seahawks gear in the NFL pro shop. Bovada has the Pats as 2-point favorites and some books have the game as a “PICK.”

If the point spread stays at its current number, this year’s Super Bowl between the Seahawks and Patriots will be the narrowest odds for the Big Game since San Francisco was a 1-point favorite over Cincinnati in the 1982 contest.

The Seahawks are also 14-4 straight up, but 11-6-1 against the spread. Patriots 2.040

Click here to read more

According to, the Patriots have hit the UNDER in 3 of the past 5 games.

The Seahawks have won the OVER in 3 of the past 5, including both playoff games.

BetOnline: Patriots -1

William Hill: Seahawks -110 …

MGM Mirage: PICK

Seattle is making its second-straight Super Bowl trip. Patriots -115

Golden Nugget: 47.5

Westgate: 47.5

The OVER-UNDER is 7-7 in the past 14 Super Bowls.

The underdog has won the past 3 Super Bowls straight up.

Russell Wilson and Seattle Seahawks are slight underdogs in most sportsbooks for Sunday's Super Bowl. Keep reading for our preview and pick.

Nearly all sportsbooks have the Patriots as slight favorites, most putting the spread at 1 point

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Early Contenders & Scratches for the 2010 Kentucky Derby Betting Odds

*** More Kentucky Derby 2010 Contenders ***

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Stately Victor 2010 Kentucky Derby Betting Odds

Schoolyard Dreams Scratched from 2010 Kentucky Derby

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Uh Oh Bango 2010 Kentucky Derby Betting Odds. Get your Kentucky Derby bets in now on your favorite contender at, the world-wide pioneers of online gambling for over 15 years.

136th kentucky derby bettingWith only a few weeks left until the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby, the early contenders make one last push to make it into the 2010 Kentucky Derby betting odds, but the scratches continue to pile up with Pulsion and Schoolyard Dreams adding to the list.

Pulsion CouldnâEUR(TM)t Pull Through For 2010 Kentucky Derby

Super Saver 2010 Kentucky Derby Betting Odds

SidneyâEUR(TM)s Candy 2010 Kentucky Derby Odds

Kentucky Derby Early Contenders:

Tempted To Tapit 2010 Kentucky Derby Betting Odds

Kentucky Derby Early Scratches:

The World famous Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky hosts “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” every year and on Saturday, May 1st at 6:30pm ET, the first leg of the prestigious Triple Crown commences

Super Bowl bets |

Those seem like the most common bets and they are, but they’re not the only one. Complete list of Super Bowl prop bets: Weather, National Anthem length, more

Every single year, the world places their bets on the Super Bowl as to who will win, what the final score will be, and how many points will be scored in total. As…

The complete book of canoeing – Charlotte Canoeing

Its final revision was in 2001.

The Only Canoe Book You'll Ever Need

I. Gordon provides a wealth of information. “Extreme canoeists maneuver their modern version of a Native American craft through roaring waters that no sober, intelligent paddler would touch with anything but a 300mm lens.” Finally, “It is a skill that weekenders enjoy on quiet rivers.”

Reading The Complete Book of Canoeing is an adventure; One that every paddler should experience.

Herbert Gordon paddled North American waterways for more than thirty years. Gordon has written several books about canoeing but The Complete Book of Canoeing, considered his most compressive and enduring or “The Only Canoe Book You’ll Ever Need.” It was first published 1992 and updated five years later in an effort to keep current with the changes taking place in Paddlesports. From basic strokes and techniques to advanced rescue maneuvers, the indispensable information that Herb Gordon presents will benefit paddlers at all skill levels. Gordon, set his or her level of adventure. For twenty years, Mr. Herbert Gordon

Students participate in guide expedition

The Complete Book of Canoeing (Canoeing how-to) by I Herbert Gordon, Connecticut: FalconGuides, Third Edition (June 1, 2001) $16.95 Reviewed by John G Hall

In his book, Mr. However, his inspiration was not so much to “educate” but to share a life-experience that shapes the way he perceives the world.

Students participate in guide expedition

Each enthusiast, according to Mr. In one passage, he writes, “Canoeing is for everyone. He won the Peabody Awards three times for his documentaries. His articles appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Skiing, Reader’s Digest and Field & Stream.

Mr. Gordon was writer and senior producer at NBC News. It’s as easy for Grandma to learn as it is for a sturdy truck driver.”

One reviewer wrote that The Complete Book of Canoeing is a comprehensive guide for the beginner and an invaluable reference for the seasoned veteran. It’s for kids in summer and for a family that wants to paddle in the wilderness. He was a national wildlife guide and instructor for the Sierra Club

BuddyBet raises $3 million to fund its raid on the gaming monetization market

You can find out more online at

After the successful launches of the B2C sports betting offering on in October 2012 and the integrated monetization of conversations on third party websites in February of this year, BuddyBet now aims to disrupt the status quo in the gaming industry by introducing a user-friendly way of monetizing online and mobile games.

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BuddyBet, the world’s most social betting platform, has received $3 million from private investors to fund the next phase of the development of its P2P betting platform.

By combining the concepts of P2P betting and online gaming, BuddyBet allows gamers to raise the stakes by placing bets against their opponents. Users can bet on the BuddyBet website or via customised versions of the product on other websites and mobile games.

We believe that skill game betting is an effective way of monetizing games without the negative implications for a pure and user-friendly experience that occur with other popular monetization methods. Integrating BuddyBet’s skilled betting platform brings proven benefits such as increased stickiness and a user-friendly monetization strategy for sports media and gaming websites.

About BuddyBet. However, online and mobile developers targeting more casual gamers must turn to alternative methods such as banner advertising and freemium models which annoy their audience and often drive users away.”

BuddyBet combines social networking with online betting; offering sports fans, gamers and social bettors the chance to challenge each other to P2P bets or make bets against groups of rival fans for cash, virtual money or forfeits. “For huge brands with dedicated communities it’s easier to charge a high retail price. BuddyBet offers a fun and effective way of allowing gamers to support their favourite developers, and this latest round of funding will be crucial to our effort to fulfil this objective.”

Initial traction with gaming sites shows that allowing gamers to participate in skilled betting challenges against opponents makes games stickier, therefore increasing time spent playing the games or on the website and increasing brand loyalty. However, social gaming investment plummeted last year by $1 billion, making monetization of social gaming a current and contentious issue.

BuddyBet has already gathered momentum in the sports media industry through a fruitful partnership with DSG, which has seen their platform integrated across more than 180 websites including, and they are now parlaying that success with an extension of their platform across the much larger gaming industry.

“Games developers, big and small, all face similar challenges when it comes to monetizing their games,” said Jarrod Epps, CEO, BuddyBet. Using a proprietary automated skills matching engine, BuddyBet matches players of similar ability levels to ensure bets are placed in a fair situation and add to the competitive element of the game.

The first BuddyBet site was launched in August 2012 by Jarrod Epps, CEO, who started the company to solve the problem of settling long-standing bets agreed between friends and to add a fun and social element to online betting. This strategy adds to the user’s gaming experience and, more importantly for games developers, provides a user-friendly solution for monetizing their games while maintaining a more pure, uninterrupted gaming experience than what they produce through other monetization methods.

Research conducted by Digi-Capital in the 2013 games investment review estimates that the online and mobile gaming industry will be worth $83 billion by 2016

How To Find A Great Betting Website Like Bet365

If a high volume of consumers state that a website of this type is fraudulent then you may want to turn the other direction immediately.

Don’t waste your time with other like websites. That way you can be certain to find an excellent betting website like Bet365, while being certain to avoid those online betting websites that will simply take your money or that will offer the very lowest odds possible.

If you want to obtain access to one of the very best betting resources out there that offers advice on odds, has livescore information, and that even has a TV guide, then you should immediately check out BetXpert. All websites of this type generally claim to be the best and to offer the best odds. In fact they are one of the only websites of their type that actually offers a TV guide.

Article Directory:

The main problem that online betters face when it comes to selecting a betting website is just that — selecting a betting website! With so many options available to online betters this process can become quite tedious. That is why you must be very careful when selecting one of these types of websites to do business with. For every great betting website out there like Bet365, there are hordes of other betting websites that simply have a poor reputation or that actually rip off their customers.

If you truly value your money and only want to deal with the very best and most professional betting websites out there, then you must seriously take your time when choosing such a website and must compare them one to another. Immediately turn to the expert services of Betxpert to get what you want when you want it so that you can quickly get on your way to making the most money possible from placing online bets. Not all gambling websites do what they claim to do or offer the types of payouts that they insist that they do. There are numerous things that you can do and can consider doing in order to ensure that you are making the very best choice possible.

They are a reputable online resource that has more features than their biggest competitors. That is why you must be diligent in investigating these websites to ensure that you are only dealing with the very best and most professional websites of their kind.

By: Vikram Kumar

Consumer reviews are a great asset that you can make use of in order to learn more about these companies and in order to determine which ones are the very best. The one thing that you want to keep an eye on is the reputation of each betting website that you have on your mind to join. They are one of the leading online resources of their kind and have assisted countless individuals in learning the ins and outs of online betting and have assisted them in finding the very best betting websites available.

Want to find a betting website like Bet365 or a betting resource that has a TV guide ? If so look no further than BetXpert.

The good news is that the process of finding an exceptional online betting website doesn’t have to be difficult

A new university bets on a hybrid online-learning model

REUTERS/Stephen Lam


Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

. Eric Bonabeau, dean of computational cciences at the Minerva Project, a new university startup, listens to founding Dean Stephen Kosslyn in San Francisco, California January 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Eric Bonabeau, dean of computational cciences at the Minerva Project, a new university startup, listens to founding Dean Stephen Kosslyn in San Francisco, California January 7, 2014

What’s Next After Nevada Legalizes Online Interstate Gaming

Brian Sandoval has signed legislation legalizing online interstate gaming, what’s next for online poker fans in the United States?. Chris Christie had vetoed an online gambling bill but could sign another version next week.

“The only question now is how many other U.S. However, the federal government can pass its own regulations that would preempt state law, including that of Nevada.

LaMance said legislation and enforcement have previously only targeted online companies, not individuals, from engaging in online gambling.

Now that Nevada Gov. online gambling industry has been reborn,” said Ken LaMance, attorney and managing editor for the LegalMatch Law Library.

Nevada’s bill removes a state provision that requires federal legislation or approval from the Department of Justice before online gaming licenses are made active. The legislation requires the Nevada Gaming Commission to adopt regulations authorizing Gov. states will pass similar online gambling legislation allowing online gambling companies to operate in their state, or allow their citizens to participate in this online gambling in Nevada or New Jersey,” LaMance said.

“We’re currently in unchartered waters,” LaMance said.

“There is so much money at stake that I anticipate there will be a tidal wave of new companies entering this very lucrative market,” LaMance said.

“But this seems unlikely since the federal government has traditionally left gambling regulation to the individual states,” he said.

SHOWS: Good Morning America

“With the large number of online companies likely sprouting up in Nevada, online gambling players are going to have abundant options, with the added security of knowing their money is stored domestically and not in some questionable offshore account,” he said.

With passage of Nevada’s new legislation, “the U.S. Sandoval to make the agreements with other states.

The state’s legislators and Sandoval rushed to pass and sign AB114 on Thursday, authorizing Nevada to enter into compacts with other states to offer Internet poker, ahead of New Jersey’s similar efforts.

ap las vegas internet poker ll 130222 wblog Whats Next After Nevada Legalizes Online Interstate Gaming(Image credit: Julie Jacobson/AP Photo)

A few states have passed legislation prohibiting residents from engaging in online gambling, like Illinois and Louisiana but, LaMance said, that could change. online gambling nearly halted after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was implemented.

But the Department of Justice issued a letter in 2011 stating that the federal Wire Act of 1961 only applies to sports betting.

Feb 23, 2013 6:00am

What does this all mean for poker fans and other states?

LaMance said he expects New Jersey to pass similar legislation in the coming weeks.

On Feb.

The Nevada law authorizes private companies to operate online gambling sites in Nevada after they pay the state a fee. Certain companies that have been operating illegal online gambling companies will be barred from participation for five years, after which they can apply for a license.

U.S. 7, New Jersey Gov

Star of upcoming CNBC reality show on sports gambling an unsafe bet, sources say

Stevens’ website boasts a winning percentage of 71.5 percent “to be exact,” a figure that — to say the least — raised some eyebrows within betting circles. “70 percent? No shot.”. (

Notaro, then 25, was sentenced to one year in jail in 1999 for his role in a Las Vegas telemarketing scheme that victimized elderly residents nationwide. As one of six men charged in connection to the Century Pacific Group, Notaro was also ordered to make $12,230 in restitution.

“It certainly doesn’t inspire confidence for CNBC to showcase a man with this kind of checkered history,” Kurtz told “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.”

- Howard Kurtz, media critic

Kurtz continued: “By giving Stevens this platform, CNBC is implicitly vouching for him and no corporate PR statement can change that.”

“My disgust with the topic runs deeper and is with the supposedly reputable network for their half-baked attempt to do appropriate research on the featured personality,” Fuhrman wrote. “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?”

Stevens declined to comment when reached early Wednesday by at his Las Vegas home.

Notaro is also listed as the renter of the office space at 4004 Schiff Drive, the location of VIP Sports, records show.

“Why the [expletive] you calling here so early?” Stevens said before hanging up.

“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,” Fuhrman wrote in a blog post on Monday. “The media consciously chooses to validate the wrong personalities, creating an aura around characters that are no better than modern-day carnies.”

“It certainly doesn’t inspire confidence for CNBC to showcase a man with this kind of checkered history.”

“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,” CNBC said in a statement to

Todd Fuhrman, a former oddsmaker at Caesars Palace who now runs gambling site, characterized Stevens as part of a “disturbing trend” within the sports gambling world.

Howard Kurtz, a Fox News media analyst, said he found the matter to be problematic.

The controversy surrounding Stevens — who was lauded by CNBC as a “well-known handicapper” in a July press release announcing the “docu-soap” — was first reported by Business Insider, which cited a report by that found that the domain name for Stevens’ business was registered eight months ago under the name Darin Notaro.

Stevens, a 39-year-old Las Vegas handicapper and upcoming host of the network’s “Money Talks” reality series on the world of sports gambling, runs VIP Sports in Sin City. “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.”

“Obviously the guy in the video is a complete scam artist,” Voulgaris posted on Twitter on Monday. But Stevens’ prior conviction in a telemarketing scam that bilked elderly investors of at least $234,000 nearly 15 years ago is now being scrutinized as CNBC officials begin to distance themselves from Stevens’ picks.

CNBC may be taking a huge gamble on Steve Stevens.

Noted NBA gambler Bob Voulgaris, who did not return a message seeking comment early Wednesday, denounced Stevens’ claim of winning more than 70 percent of his bets.

Fuhrman then noted that “no one, and I mean no one” knows Stevens, who was touted as something like a Las Vegas fixture.


Steve Stevens, who run VIP Sports in Las Vegas, declined comment when reached by early Wednesday regarding claims of a winning percentage exceeding 70 percent and his prior conviction in a telemarketing scam