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US sports betting troubles

13 June 2024

The U.S. sports betting industry is under fire after several major scandals involving professional athletes and gambling. The main stream media is calling for changes amid concerns of addiction risks and player protections.

Enter the SAFE Bet Act, which could bring some big changes to the American sports betting industry, but could also save it.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced that an infielder for the San Diego Padres has been permanently barred from the league for betting on baseball. This was bad news for US sports betting, which was already reeling from the scandal involving Shohei Ohtani interpreter. Now, Tucupita Marcano violated the MLB gambling policy, and four additional players received suspensions for similar actions: Michael Kelly, a reliever for the Oakland Athletics, and minor league players Jay Groome (a pitcher for the Padres), José Rodríguez (an infielder for the Philadelphia Phillies), and Andrew Saalfrank (a pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks).

Not to be outdone, the National Basketball Association (NBA) imposed a lifetime ban on Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter, accusing him of betting on games, sharing information with gamblers, and feigning illness to manipulate a wager. Porter had appeared in 26 games for Toronto during this season, and previously played 11 games for the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2020-21 season. The investigation into NBA player gambling revealed Porter’s involvement in widespread gambling activities, a direct violation of league regulations. While Porter was not criminally charged in this case, others were.