Sports betting scandals throughout history have captured the public’s attention and become flashpoints in the debate over legalizing sports gambling. Some have involved high-profile athletes, while others involve organized crime schemes designed to undermine game integrity.
No matter the specifics, most of these scandals share one thing in common: they serve as cautionary tales and offer lessons that can be applied to life, love, politics and even money.
1. Tim Donaghy
In one of sports’ biggest scandals ever, NBA referee Tim Donaghy was caught betting on games he officiated. This caused many fans and analysts to question the integrity of the league, leading many to speculate as to its future direction.
In 2007, the FBI initiated an investigation into Donaghy due to his alleged influence over point spreads or game outcomes.
Ultimately, the FBI shut down Donaghy’s operation and sent him to prison for 15 months. Additionally, he was given another three years of supervised release.
2. Tim Schlichter
Sports betting scandals of the past, but one of the most egregious was that of NFL quarterback Art Schlichter. He spent all of his signing bonus in just a few months and continued to lose thousands of dollars betting on basketball and college football games.
Eventually, the FBI discovered him and arrested him for his involvement in a gambling operation. He was ultimately found guilty and served jail time as punishment.
Another noteworthy sports betting scandal was the CCNY point-shaving scandal of 1950-1951, which involved several colleges and New York mobsters.
This was the first time multiple programs at a school were accused of fixing games. Mobster paid players from several teams, including City College of New York (CCNY), LIU, Toledo, Bradley University and Kentucky.
3. Calvin Ridley
A major sports betting scandal is currently ensnaring the NFL. Calvin Ridley, a star wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, was suspended without pay last year for betting on NFL games while away from his team.
Ridley’s gambling was discovered through Genius’ integrity services arm, which monitors betting markets across hundreds of thousands of sporting events.
Ridley was caught betting on three parlays with at least one NFL game in November 2021, each worth $5000.
The suspension is another example of how the NFL’s shift towards legalized sports wagering has resulted in harsh punishments for those who break its gambling policy. Yet it also serves as a reminder that there remains an important distinction between ownership and players.
4. Darrick Minner
The UFC has been at the center of one of sports betting’s biggest scandals in history. This has prompted several government agencies to investigate the promotion over suspicions of fight fixing.
A controversial betting scandal before an MMA fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke in November caused controversy. A few UFC oddsmakers noticed unusual betting line movements before the bout, prompting investigations by U.S. Integrity, Nevada State Athletic Commission, and other authorities.
James Krause was an acclaimed sports bettor who hosted the “1% Club” podcast and ran a popular Discord channel with betting tips. He made headlines by boasting that he was making more money from gambling than coaching.
5. Josh Shaw
Sports betting scandals have captured the public’s attention over time. Some involve high-profile athletes wagering on games, while others involve organized crime schemes intended to undermine game integrity.
Many of these scandals have become landmarks that have had an immense impact on the sport, particularly with states across America legalizing or considering sports Free Betting. Many of these stories now serve as cautionary tales.
One of the greatest sports betting scandals in history was the seven-school point shaving operation of 1951, perpetrated by a group of college basketball players for financial gain. They were paid to alter point spreads in favor of certain teams.