Betting Scandals Rock the Sports World in 2024

The year 2024 is rapidly becoming synonymous with sports-betting scandals. Since the landmark Supreme Court decision in 2018 that allowed states to legalize sports betting, the industry has seen a massive influx of cash, with numerous leagues and team owners securing lucrative deals.

For instance, FanDuel became the official betting partner of Major League Baseball (MLB) last year. In 2021, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) partnered with DraftKings in a deal valued at $350 million, according to ESPN. Currently, sports betting is legal in 39 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. Since legalization, bettors have wagered an astonishing $330 billion.

With the rise in popularity, scandals involving athletes have inevitably followed.

On Tuesday, MLB announced a lifetime ban for San Diego Padres player Tucupita Marcano for betting on 25 games involving his own team. Similarly, Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter was permanently banned by the NBA for leaking health information and other violations.

In the UK, Premier League soccer star Lucas Paqueta faces a potential lifetime ban for allegedly deliberately receiving yellow cards to help friends win bets. Meanwhile, a former interpreter for Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani was charged in April with stealing $16 million from the pitcher to settle his own gambling debts.

For years, sports leagues and broadcasters have enthusiastically embraced sports gambling. With such widespread integration, it's perhaps unsurprising that players are getting caught up in betting-related scandals.

However, leagues seem unfazed by these developments. According to Peter Kafka of Business Insider, leagues are willing to scapegoat these players. By making examples out of those who violate rules, leagues can bolster the legitimacy of the industry, ensuring its continued growth and profitability.

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