In addition to my curiosities re: organized crime’s supposed role in the NBA betting scandal, I have also been keen to assess the many issues involving Donaghy’s alleged betting success rate. Here is a transcript of the preview released by CBS yesterday:
(Off-screen) Anchor: Bob, you interviewed Tim Donaghy, the infamous NBA referee who bet on games he officiated in. How large was the scope of this problem, how long did it go on for, and about how many games did he bet on?
CBS Correspondent Bob Simon: Well, he says be bet on about a hundred games. He won’t say how many of those games he officiated, but he says, ‘A lot,’ and it went on for four years. The first three years, he was doing just fine. He was placing his bets through a friend. He was afraid of being caught, so that’s why he did it that way. But then in the fourth year, The Mob found out and they got involved with Donaghy and that led to his downfall.
Anchor: Yet, based on investigations by 60 Minutes and the FBI, was he actually influenced in the way he was refereeing?
Simon: He says he didn’t let his betting influence his games. Now, this is rather hard to believe, but the FBI and the NBA thoroughly investigated him and they agree that he did not let his betting influence his games.
Anchor: However, he had an accuracy of about 70-80%, so how does he explain this?
Simon: He explains his accuracy by knowing the relationships that different refs had with different players, different general managers, and different owners. He said that refs had biases; they liked certain players, disliked others, the same with managers and owners, and by knowing which refs were ref’ing which particular games, which teams, he then knew which team to bet on.
May 2023 Update: Needless to say, the nuanced details of the betting throughout the 2003-07 NBA betting scandal are presented with evidence in Gaming the Game: The Story Behind the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler Who Made It Happen.