A timeline of sports gambling scandals since 2018


On May 14, 2018, just after 10 a.m. ET, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the federal statute that had restricted legal betting to primarily Nevada for 26 years.

It was a landmark decision for two of America’s favorite pastimes: sports and gambling.

States wasted little time launching — and taxing — legal sports betting markets, and professional leagues quickly formed partnerships with the bookmaking companies that would be taking bets on the games. Six years later, 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have legal betting markets, and bettors have already wagered more the $330 billion with the new state-sponsored sportsbooks. But as the betting has increased, so have the controversies that come from gambling.

In the past two years, dozens of professional and collegiate athletes and coaches have been suspended or fired for gambling violations, and at least one bettor has pleaded guilty to obstruction charges related to a college baseball betting scandal. In early 2024, a pair of investigations were launched involving suspicious betting on Temple men’s basketball and on prop wagers involving Toronto Raptors reserve center Jontay Porter. On Wednesday, the NBA banned Porter for life after its investigation revealed he had disclosed confidential information to bettors, limited his participation in at least one game while he was with Raptors and bet on NBA games while playing in the G League.

The gaming industry and sports leagues say the legal system is working, with the increased visibility of the betting that is taking place helping spot anomalies. But the incidents — including players betting on games they’re involved with — persist.

Meanwhile, the underground betting market that has existed in the U.S. since sports have existed continues to thrive, with unlicensed bookmakers offering credit and attracting some high-profile clientele who might be hoping for more anonymity. Ippei Mizuhara, former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani, was fired in March for using such a bookie. Last week, Mizuhara turned himself in to authorities after prosecutors alleged he stole more than $16 million from Ohtani’s account.

California and Texas, the two largest states, have yet to legalize sports betting, so the U.S. market has plenty of room for growth, and there is no shortage of betting interest from the public. How big the American betting market gets is anyone’s guess. Perhaps the safest bet, though, is that there will be more controversies. — David Purdum

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2018

May 14, 2018: Supreme Court strikes down federal prohibitions on sports gambling

The United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protections act — a 1992 law barring state-authorized sports gambling (Nevada had been primarily the only exception). The ruling, which ended a nearly six-year legal battle, opened the door for any state interested in legalizing sports gambling to do so.


2019

Nov. 29, 2019: NFL suspends Josh Shaw indefinitely

Josh Shaw was the first active player, though on injured reserve, to be suspended for betting on league games. He bet openly at a sportsbook in Las Vegas against his own team at the time, the Arizona Cardinals, as part of a parlay.


2020

Sept. 8, 2020: University of Colorado signs sponsorship deal with Denver-based PointsBet

The five-year deal between Colorado and PointsBet permitted the sports betting operator to display signs at Colorado’s football stadium and basketball arena as well as have ads on other media such as radio broadcasts.


2021

May 26, 2021: Capital One Arena in Washington becomes the first professional sports arena in the U.S. with a fully operational sportsbook

Monumental Sports, the owner of the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and Washington Capitals, agreed to a 10-year lease with William Hill Sportsbook.

Oct. 8, 2021: Sporting KC’s Felipe Hernandez suspended for betting on MLS games

An independent investigation launched in July 2021 found Hernandez had engaged in “extensive and unlawful sports gambling” while a member of Sporting Kansas City, including gambling on MLS games. Hernandez had informed the team about his gambling on July 5, telling it he was worried about his personal safety because of the debts he had accumulated.


2022

March 7, 2022: NFL suspends Calvin Ridley for one year

Ridley, an Atlanta Falcons receiver at the time, was suspended for at least the entirety of the 2022 season after the NFL determined he had gambled on games during a five-day stretch in November 2021 while on the non-football injury list. Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the stretch included multilegged parlay bets that included the Falcons to win. He was reinstated in March 2023.

Dec. 23, 2022: New York Jets WR coach Miles Austin suspended for one year

Miles Austin, the Jets’ wide receiver coach, was suspended for at least one year for violating the NFL’s gambling policy. The league had opened an investigation into Austin after finding out he was gambling on sports — not on NFL games or college football — which violates the NFL personnel gambling policy.


2023

Jan. 19, 2023: UFC tightens gambling rules, hires integrity firm amid investigations into suspicious gambling activity before fight

The UFC added stricter language about wagering in its fight code of conduct and hired U.S. Integrity, a sports wagering monitoring firm. The change stemmed from suspicious betting patterns related to a UFC fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.

March 29, 2023: University of Colorado and PointsBet end partnership three years early

Colorado and SportsBet announced in a joint statement it was “mutually beneficial” to end their partnership after nearly three years. One day prior, the American Gaming Association had released revised guidelines that advised against similar partnerships between sportsbooks and colleges.

April 21, 2023: Jameson Williams among five NFL players suspended for gambling

Detroit Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus, safety C.J. Moore and Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney were indefinitely suspended for betting on NFL games, while Jameson Williams and Stanley Berryhill were suspended for six games for mobile betting that occurred at the Lions’ Allen Park facility, though Williams and Berryhill did not bet on NFL games.

May 4, 2023: Alabama fires head baseball coach Brad Bohannon after link to suspicious bets

Ohio gambling regulators had initially halted betting on college baseball games involving Alabama after suspicious wagering activity was detected for its game against LSU. Federal prosecutors alleged Bert Neff, an Indiana businessman and youth baseball coach, communicated with Bohannon ahead of an Alabama-LSU baseball game and proceeded to bet against the Crimson Tide. Alabama fired Bohannon six days after the betting had been halted.

May 8, 2023: Start of Iowa-Iowa State gambling investigation

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University announce more than three dozen athletes — spanning baseball, football, men’s basketball, men’s track and field, and wrestling — and one full-time Iowa athletic department employee were suspected of violating NCAA rules against gambling on sports.

June 29, 2023: NFL suspends four players (three for betting on their own team) for gambling violations

Indianapolis Colts’ Isaiah Rodgers Sr. and Rashod Berry and free agent Demetrius Taylor were suspended by the NFL through at least the 2023 season for betting on NFL games in 2022. Rodgers, however, said that the bets he made were for other people, whom he declined to identify.

Read: Inside the NFL’s gambling policy and uptick in violations

Sept. 29, 2023: Jameson Williams reinstated after NFL tweaks gambling policy

The NFL modified its gambling policies to make it so players who bet on their own teams would be punished more harshly — a suspension of at least two years — and players who bet on any NFL games would be punished with a one-year suspension. Players who bet on non-NFL sports while at a team facility or on team-related travel would now receive a two-game suspension for a first violation, six games for a second and at least one year for a third.

Read: Amid gambling violations, NFL players debate betting policy

Oct 26, 2023: NHL player Shane Pinto suspended 41 games for gambling

It is unclear how Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto violated the NHL’s sports wagering policy, but Pinto did have an online gambling account in the U.S. that was flagged by an NHL integrity protection partner “because of unusual activity,” according to the Ottawa Sun.

Oct. 27, 2023: Two Korn Ferry Tour golfers suspended for sports betting

Vince India and Jake Staiano, golfers on the PGA Tour’s feeder tour, were suspended for three and six months, respectively, for placing bets on PGA Tour competitions. Neither wagered on tournaments in which they played.


2024

Jan. 25, 2024: Patriots’ Kayshon Boutte arrested over illegal betting at LSU

Louisiana State police said the charges against wide receiver Kayshon Boutte include a felony count of computer fraud and a misdemeanor count of gambling prohibited for persons under 21, but that there could be additional charges as the investigation was ongoing. Boutte allegedly used an alias to get around the age requirement for placing sports wagers in Louisiana while he placed bets from April 6, 2022, through May 7, 2023, while he was 20.

March 8, 2024: Temple reviews reports of unusual gambling activity

Watchdog company U.S. Integrity flagged at least one Temple men’s basketball game for unusual betting activity, prompting Caesars Sportsbook and FanDuel, among other sportsbooks, to halt betting on the game.

March 12, 2024: Ex-Jaguars employee Amit Patel given 6 ½ year prison sentence for fraud

Amit Patel pleaded guilty to stealing $22 million from the team. Patel stole the money over the course of 3½ years as he transferred approximately $20 million to FanDuel and $1 million to DraftKings, using the rest of the stolen money on various other expenditures.

March 20, 2024: Dodgers fire Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, amid allegations of “massive theft” stemming from gambling debts

Ippei Mizuhara was fired after questions started to arise surrounding at least $4.5 million in wire transfers sent from Shohei Ohtani’s bank account to a bookmaking operation that is under federal investigation. A spokesman for Ohtani initially told ESPN that Ohtani had transferred the funds to cover Mizuhara’s gambling debt.

Read: Shohei Ohtani, his interpreter and wire transfers: A timeline

March 25, 2024: NBA eyes Raptors’ Jontay Porter for betting issues

Multiple sources told ESPN that Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter was being investigated by the NBA for making prop bets from games on Jan. 26 and March 20 involving himself.

March 27, 2024: NCAA president calls for ban on college prop bets

NCAA president Charlie Baker calls for ban on college prop bets. Baker said this is to protect “the integrity and competition” of the game as well as stop the harassment of student and professional athletes.

April 11, 2024: Federal prosecutors say Mizuhara stole more than $16 million from Ohtani

Federal authorities filed a complaint accusing Mizuhara of bank fraud in relation to allegations he stole money from Ohtani to cover his own gambling debts. The prosecutors said Ohtani is considered a victim in this case.

April 17, 2024: NBA bans Jontay Porter for life

The NBA announced its investigation found that “Porter violated league rules by disclosing confidential information to sports bettors, limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and betting on NBA games.”

June 3, 2024: Padres Marcano faces potential lifetime ban

San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano is facing a potential lifetime ban for betting on baseball. Major League Baseball received information that he wagered on games involving the Pirates when he was with them last season, sources confirmed to ESPN.



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