NBA player banned for life for gambling on basketball games


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The National Basketball Association has banned a player for life for betting on the sport, the first time the league has imposed the maximum penalty since legal sports betting began in the United States.

An investigation by the league found that Jontay Porter of the Toronto Raptors bet on basketball games and liaised with at least one bettor to improve his own performance. According to a league release Wednesday, Porter disclosed confidential information about his own health and limited his participation in one game on March 20, the same date an acquaintance of Porter’s bet $80,000 that he would underperform. in this match.

Porter’s ban is among the harshest sanctions handed down after a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturned a federal ban on sports betting, clearing the way for states to legalize it. While mainstream sports betting is now legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia, professional leagues largely prohibit players and staff from betting, particularly on their own sports.

Since 2018, the National Football League has suspended a handful of players for betting on its games. Last month, Major League Baseball opened an investigation into star player Shohei Ohtani and his former translator, Ippei Mizuhara, amid allegations of illegal betting. Last week, the U.S. Justice Department charged Mizuhara with bank fraud, describing Ohtani as a victim in the case and alleging that his former interpreter wired $16 million from Ohtani’s accounts to cover his gambling debts.

The NBA said the investigation into Porter was ongoing and that it would “continue to share information with federal prosecutors regarding this matter.”

“There is nothing more important than protecting the integrity of NBA competition for our fans, our teams and everyone associated with our sport, which is why Jontay Porter’s blatant violations of our playing rules are punished with the most severe penalty,” said NBA Commissioner Adam. Silver said in a statement.

An agent for Porter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The NBA and other leagues seek to maintain the integrity of the game in the face of the growing influence of sports betting. Legal sports betting revenue reached $10.9 billion in 2023, up more than 44% from 2022, making it the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. gaming industry. United, according to the American Gaming Association.

Porter is the first NBA player to face a lifetime ban from gambling since the 2018 ruling, although the league previously banned players from betting when the practice was largely illegal.

Porter, a power forward who played in 26 games this season with the Raptors, is the brother of Michael Porter Jr. of the defending champion Denver Nuggets. According to the NBA, Porter wagered approximately $54,000 on 13 bets on NBA games between January and March of this year.

Additionally, three of the bets Porter made were “multi-game parlay bets that included a Raptors game, in which Porter bet that the Raptors would lose,” according to the NBA. “All three bets were lost.”


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