Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Jontay Porter receives lifetime ban from NBA for violating gambling rules

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The NBA gave Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter a lifetime ban for “by disclosing confidential information to sports bettors, limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and betting on NBA games,” the league announced in a news release Wednesday.

“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 gaming rules are being met with the most severe punishment,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “While legal sports betting creates transparency that helps identify suspicious or abnormal activity, this matter also raises important issues about the sufficiency of the regulatory framework currently in place, including the types of bets offered on our games and players.  Working closely with all relevant stakeholders across the industry, we will continue to work diligently to safeguard our league and game.” 

The NBA’s investigation found that:

∎ “Porter disclosed confidential information about his own health status to an individual he knew to be an NBA bettor.  Another individual with whom Porter associated and knew to be an NBA bettor subsequently placed an $80,000 parlay proposition bet with an online sports book, to win $1.1 million, wagering that Porter would underperform in the March 20 game.”

∎ “Porter limited his own game participation to influence the outcome of one or more bets on his performance in at least one Raptors game.  In the March 20 game, Porter played only three minutes, claiming that he felt ill.  Due to the unusual betting activity and actions of the player, the $80,000 proposition bet was frozen and was not paid out.”

∎ “In addition, from January through March 2024, while traveling with the Raptors or Raptors 905, the Raptors’ NBA G League affiliate, Porter placed at least 13 bets on NBA games using an associate’s online betting account.  These bets ranged in size from $15 to $22,000, for a total of $54,094.  The total payout from these bets was $76,059, resulting in net winnings of $21,965.  None of the bets involved any game in which Porter played.  Three of the bets were multi-game parlay bets that included one Raptors game, in which Porter bet that the Raptors would lose.  All three bets lost.”

Porter, the younger brother of Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., was held out of games from March 22 through the remainder of the regular season after an ESPN story detailed gambling irregularities involving games in which Porter played.

Porter averages 4.4 point, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 26 games with the Raptors this season. Porter signed a two-way contract with Toronto on Dec. 9.

NBA players are not allowed to wager on NBA games. Punishment if found culpable, according to the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA, players union), is at the discretion of the NBA commissioner and “may include a fine, suspension, expulsion, and/or perpetual disqualification from further association with the Association or any of its Members.”

Silver took the most extreme measure.

The NBA said the suspicious bets were brought to its attention by “by licensed sports betting operators and an organization that monitors legal betting markets.” The investigation remains open, and the league said it will share information with federal prosecutors. T

he league’s previous lifetime ban for gambling-related offense came in 1996 when Roger Brown was banned for his association with a known gambler Jack Molinas, another player who was banned by the league for gambling.

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