Definition of Tout
Tout is a gambling term typically related to horse racing.
A tout is someone who spies on racehorses, such as during practice, in order to obtain information. This is information that they can use to hedge bets, but by definition, the tout seeks the information to sell to another.
The term tout also describes a seller of such information even when the seller did not acquire the information firsthand. For instance, professional touts will often sell their information to tout businesses that then sell to clients.
Tout is also a verb: To tout means to obtain or sell data about a racehorse or stable in order to guide bettors.
In these senses, tout is chiefly a British term, but it’s common among horse bettors regardless of English dialect.
Generally, tout has a negative connotation because a tout is someone who is stealing, cheating or at the very least violating the spirit of fair play. There are, however, common uses of the term in betting that are not negative.
For instance, horse betting information services on the up-and-up will often harmlessly advertise their services as “tips n’ touts.” In this playful sense, they’re implying inside information, but not information achieved dishonestly.
When we refer to an individual as a tout, it is almost always an insult. We wouldn’t call a legit info provider a tout. A scam artist that sells winners against the over-under or the spread with no long-term winning record is a tout.