What Fate Could Await Jontay Porter if He’s Found Guilty of Manipulating Games for Betting?

  • Porter is under investigation as a result of suspicious betting patterns
  • Porter left two games in four minutes or less, helping “under” bettors win big
  • The NBA has previously banned players and owners for life
  • Commissioner Adam Silver is no stranger to setting a precedent
Deflated basketball
The NBA could come down hard on Jontay Porter if he is found to have manipulated games for betting reasons. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Jontay Porter under investigation

A Monday report from ESPN revealed that Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter is under investigation by the NBA for suspicious betting activity related to his prop lines in two games.

Porter’s props were the biggest winners of the day

DraftKings reported that on both nights the under on Porter’s props were the biggest winners of the day. Suspicion arose when bettors attempted to place upward of $20,000 on these lines before Porter exited both games within four minutes, citing an eye injury in one and an illness in the other.

As the investigation continues to progress, the NBA needs to prepare for the worst. If the 24-year-old is found guilty of nefarious activity, the league only has one chance at setting the standard for future punishment.

Porter’s history 

The biggest fear of everyone involved in sports betting – operators, sports leagues, and pro and anti-gambling lawmakers included – is a lack of game integrity.

U.S. Integrity is one of several firms that works to preserve the integrity of sports by monitoring betting patterns and flagging any suspicious activity for review. Teams and sportsbooks also have people responsible for keeping a close watch over betting movement.

This is not a case in which those people did not do their jobs, as Porter’s props were flagged and an investigation was launched. Instead, the question is whether he is guilty or not, and what impact that answer will have on his future.

Porter, brother of Denver Nuggets champion Michael Porter Jr., has previously shared on social media that he was involved in gambling and trading. 

“EZ parley (sic),” Porter said in a post from his trading account on X (formerly Twitter) regarding a 2022 March Madness parlay. 

He also claims he outperformed hedge funds and is frequently active on stock apps.

“Robinhood is my have fun account where I try to grow it as quickly as possible,” Porter said on the Bound to be Rich podcast in 2023.

That does not mean that he is guilty of any involvement in the scandal – it’s completely legal for NBA players to bet on other sports and to trade stocks. Heck, LeBron James has a partnership with DraftKings. But it does add another layer of intrigue to the story.

Setting an example

This is the first time the NBA has been rocked by a major betting scandal since the US Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting in 2018.

The NFL’s first major case involved then-Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who bet $1,500 on NBA and NFL games (one of which included the Falcons) while he was away from the team. 

The league decided a one-year suspension was fit for the crime and he returned to the gridiron in 2023.

The NBA has a history of coming down hard on players for various crimes and rules infractions. Numerous players have been banned for life or suspended for a lengthy period, whether it be Ron Artest for his role in Malice in the Palace, Gilbert Arenas for bringing firearms to his team locker room, or individuals guilty of repeated instances of substance abuse. 

banned former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also left no doubt that he could be cutthroat the last time he was asked to set a precedent. Two months after Silver took over in February 2014, he banned former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life after recordings of him making racist remarks were publicized.

Unfortunately for Porter, a two-way player who did not appear in the NBA the last two seasons, his lowly status could make him a sacrificial lamb if he is found guilty. The league would not take any sort of marketing hit as they would if they were to exile a superstar or household name, and if anything, they would likely receive praise for their staunch commitment to preserving the game’s integrity.

The investigation will ultimately determine the severity of the punishment and if one is needed at all. But if it is, don’t expect the league to hold back. 

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