Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Toronto Raptors centre Jontay Porter handed lifetime ban from NBA for gambling

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The NBA has banned Toronto’s Jontay Porter for life after he violated the league’s guidelines around gambling.

The league says its investigation found Porter disclosed confidential information to sports bettors, limited his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and bet on NBA games.

All three are prohibited under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.

“The league’s investigation found that prior to the Raptors’ March 20 game, Porter disclosed confidential information about his own health to an individual he knew to be an NBA bettor,” the league said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Another individual with whom Porter associated and knew to be an NBA bettor subsequently placed an $80,000 parlay proposition bet with an online sportsbook, to win $1.1 million, wagering Porter would underperform in the March 20 game.”

A proposition bet is a wager not tied to the final score or outcome of a game that is often tied to an aspect of a player’s performance.

According to the NBA, Porter played only three minutes in the March 20 game before leaving citing illness.

In addition, from January through March 2024, while travelling with the Raptors or Raptors 905 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. 

The suspicious bets were brought to the NBA’s attention by licensed sports betting operators and an organization that monitors legal betting markets. 

“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 announcing the ban.

“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.”

Porter – the brother of Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. – has not commented since the investigation began, and never played for the Raptors again, missing all of Toronto’s games for the remainder of the season citing personal reasons.

A spokesman for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the government agency that regulates sports gambling in the province, said the organization was pleased that the NBA addressed the matter promptly and decisively. The AGCO did not say if it would prohibit bets on the NBA or player prop bets.

“The AGCO requires all Ontario-registered gaming operators to ensure the sport betting products they offer are on events that are effectively supervised by a sport governing body,” said the spokesman in a written statement to The Canadian Press. “At a minimum, the sport governing body must have — and enforce — codes of conduct that prohibit betting by insiders.

“The NBA’s action on this matter speaks well of the integrity safeguards and oversight they have in place related to insider betting and match-fixing.”

The AGCO spokesman said that the Ontario Provincial Police would continue to review the case.

Speaking on Wednesday before the punishment to Porter was announced, Raptors president Masai Ujiri said news of the investigation was a surprise to the team.

“First of all you don’t want this for the kid, don’t want this for the team, and don’t want this for the league. That’s for sure,” Ujiri said. “My first reaction is obviously surprise because none of us, I don’t think anybody saw anything like this coming. You prepare as much for any kind of situations in the NBA, but definitely didn’t see this coming. But we act in accordance of what the NBA rules and regulations are of dealing with things like this and we move forward with it.”

Porter, 24, joined the Raptors this season on a two-way contract and appeared in 26 games, making five starts. The six-foot-11 centre averaged 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 13.8 minutes this season.

Porter is the second person to be banned by Commissioner Adam Silver for violating league rules. The other was now-former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in 2014.

Files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press were used in this report

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