Jontay Porter in January 2024. Jontay Porter in a January 7, 2024 game. (John Hefti/USA Today Sports.)

One of the most remarkable gambling scandals to date has been the one involving former Toronto Raptors’ center Jontay Porter. While Porter wasn’t a well-known figure before that, and while the bets on him were reportedly modest, his decisions to check out of games early with supposed injuries and thus ensure the under hit on prop bets on him remain one of the clearest examples of bet-fixing in top-tier North American sports. And now, Porter is reportedly set to plead guilty to federal charges (including a felony charge) over that, as per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic:

Here’s more from Vorkunov’s piece:

Former Toronto Raptors center Jontay Porter will face federal charges for his role in an alleged sports gambling operation that has already seen four others charged. He is expected to plead guilty on July 10, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Porter will face a felony charge, filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. A spokesperson for the United States Office of the Eastern District of New York confirmed the felony charge. A filing made in federal court Tuesday indicated that he would be the defendant in a case brought by the Department of Justice. An arrest warrant, according to the filing, has not been ordered yet.

…According to the complaint, Porter is alleged to have owed large gambling debts and saw his opportunity to erase them by helping them win bets on him. He told one defendant that he would remove himself from the Jan. 26 game with an injury after he suffered an eye injury in the Raptors’ previous game. He played just four minutes on that night.

Porter also told the others in a group chat that he would take himself out early from the March 20 game by saying he was ill. He ended up playing just three minutes in that game against the Sacramento Kings.

The piece notes that there were four other men charged over this last month, and that the bettors won more than $1 million on prop bets involving Porter (including parlays). Thus, there was definitely significant money at play here. And there were massive impacts from Porter’s actions here, first with his own bets, then with his throwing of these props, and then in a wider sense for the NBA’s reputation and the integrity of its product.

The NBA already banned Porter for life after news on this scandal (which remains one of the most notable gambling scandals to date, even if it didn’t receive a lot of immediate coverage) emerged. As many have noted, though, that was an easy decision to make on a journeyman like him. It will be interesting to see if that standard is maintained if a star is caught in anything similar. But the felony charge consequences here certainly may give others pause when it comes to bet-fixing.

[The Athletic]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.