Following a series of disappointing losses and some questionable play from a number of players, Jontay Porter has been suspected of rigging NBA games.

While this isn’t the first time the NBA has dealt with rumours and accusations of game rigging, it’s usually on the referee’s side of things, not the players. It seems oxymoronic to endanger your spot in the NBA for a few thousand dollars, especially with what players make nowadays.

Come with us as we take a deep dive into the scandal surrounding Jontay Porter, and what the NBA will likely do in response to this gambling issue.

What did Jontay Porter do?

Toronto Raptors big man Jontay Porter is currently under investigation by the NBA for potentially manipulating his performance in games to benefit gamblers and himself.  This comes during an outright abysmal season for the Raptors, where Porter has seen a huge increase in minutes following the departure of Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and a number of roleplayers. 

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In actuality, Porter is a subpar roleplayer at best, which could be a reason as to why he felt the need to stoop so low.

The allegations centre around two specific instances where his actions seemed a bit sus, to say the least.

In January, Porter left a game against the Clippers early due to a re-aggravated eye injury. Before leaving the game, the betting lines for his point totals, rebounds, assists, and even made three-pointers were set relatively low. Since he didn’t play much, he fell short of all the betting lines, making it a big win for those who bet on the “under.”  

A similar situation occurred weeks later when Porter left a game against the Kings early due to illness, again falling short of betting expectations. It should be known, that these “illnesses” seemed exaggerated.

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These occurrences raise some serious concerns, mainly because Porter is a relatively unknown player, and large sums of money were reportedly placed on his specific prop bets in the games where he left early.

Who is betting hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, on an unknown guy to play poorly? Everybody who’s been involved in this scam needs to take a big look at themselves because this has been plainly stupid.

How Sports Betting By Players Could Affect The NBA

The fact that it’s now overtly obvious that players could potentially influence the outcome of games to make a quick buck really hurts the integrity of the NBA. If a player like Porter can do it, who’s to stop an upcoming rookie or experienced veteran looking for a big payout before leaving the NBA?   

For example, imagine a player sitting out during the fourth quarter or putting in minimal effort to make sure a certain stat line is met – players will quickly make the most of this and benefit from those great or subpar performances.

Not only is this a complete erosion of fan trust, but it could easily lead to rigged games, even in the playoffs, and ultimately, a decline in the NBA’s overall legitimacy.

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Furthermore, players who interact with the sports betting world in general could potentially win enormous sums of money compared to their contracts, creating an unfair financial advantage and a conflict of interest. 

Finally, franchises can and will be negatively impacted if fans lose trust in the fairness of the games. Who would be interested in the NBA finals if you knew players were going to throw the game? Player gambling really ruins everything.

Potential Legal Changes to Sports Betting

Realistically, the whole Jontay Porter situation will probably prompt the US government to re-evaluate sports betting regulations or at least cause the NBA to raise some concerns with them.

This could not only increase scrutiny on how players interact with gambling but could potentially ban professional athletes from signing up with sportsbooks in general.

If the government doesn’t go that far, there at least needs to be potential punishments for players caught rigging games. Some of the better options could be hefty fines, lengthy suspensions, or even jail time, depending on the severity of the offence.

The NBA made a huge fuss over corrupt refs in the 2000s, so they’ll likely take this issue just as serious.

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What Changes Will the NBA Make in Response to Gambling

The NBA is likely to take a hard stance against any player found to be manipulating games through gambling, and that could mean the end of Jontay Porter’s career.

Significant fines and lengthy suspensions are a certainty for any player caught betting on NBA games or influencing their performance to benefit gamblers but for this one-off circumstance, they’ll likely make the guy an example of what not to do.

The league may also implement stricter monitoring of player activity, potentially including limitations on social media use and increased scrutiny of personal finances, which would be a huge L for somebody like Jimmy Butler or Kevin Durant. 

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Additionally, the NBA could work with sportsbooks to identify suspicious betting patterns that might indicate a player is trying to influence a game.

It’s not entirely ideal to keep NBA players on a short leash, but it’s unfortunately necessary, at least as of now. 

These are just some of the potential changes the NBA might make in response to Porter’s situation. The goal will be to send a strong message that any attempt to manipulate games for gambling purposes will not be tolerated.

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