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A timeline of sports gambling scandals since 2018

David Purdum, ESPN

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. 

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