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Leagues Seek More Input On Sports Betting Options

Jontay Porter Gambling Case Creates Concerns Over Game Integrity

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In the wake of Jontay Porter’s lifetime suspension from the NBA for gambling-related incidents, leagues are beginning to weigh the risks associated with the growing sports betting landscape in the U.S. ESPN reported this week that some sports leagues are pushing for changes in the bets some platforms offer and limits available on certain wagers.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver handed down the ban in April. The league was one of the first to embrace betting, but Silver told ESPN that leagues should have more of a say on what types of bets are available.

“Still, we believe that sports leagues should have more input into the terms and types of bets offered and that further collaboration is needed among industry stakeholders regarding what is appropriate,” he told ESPN.

Leagues Look For Changes

Porter was accused of limiting his participation in at least two games to benefit “under” bettors on his player prop bets. The case is now being investigated by law enforcement in the U.S. and Canada.

Sports leagues have embraced partnerships with sportsbooks in recent years since the virtual federal ban on betting outside Nevada was overturned in 2018. Millions of dollars have flowed into the various leagues and 39 states, including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, now offer legalized betting. But the Porter case has some concerned about protecting game integrity.

“Everybody is waiting for the big scandal,” Declan Hill, a professor at the University of New Haven who studies international match-fixing,” told ESPN. “One of the leagues is going to be hit by some enormous scandal.”

The NBA has been in discussion with its own partner sports betting partners – FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM – about limiting some types of bets. That may include barring props on players in two-way contracts with the league and the G-League. The thinking is that these players, like Porter, make less and may be more tempted to jeopardize game integrity for financial gain.

The NHL and NFL have also asked operators to ban some bets that could be more easily compromised. MLB has also expressed concern about prop bets. The NCAA recently began asking states to ban prop bets on college athletes entirely.

Those in the gaming industry, however, note that protocols in place actually protect the game. They argue that modern sports betting operations can more easily track money flowing in on certain teams or players, making match fixing and other improprieties much more difficult to get away with.