Biggest Betting Scandals in Sports History

March 31, 2020
Betting Scandals

With the Supreme Court ending the federal ban on sports betting in the United States, all of the states got the chance to legalize betting on sports, but why scandals?

This new opportunity comes with great responsibility to keep professional athletes, staff, and other employees around the professional clubs in the US focused and protected.

Ever since sports were created, bettors have been finding ways to infiltrate the games and to make a profit for themselves.

Despite the strict rules and close monitoring from both sportsbooks and sports federations. There is always a chance that some games will be fixed and rigged in a way to make a profit for some.

That’s why we decided to write this article. And to list some of the biggest betting scandals in recent sports history.

The Black Sox Scandal (1919)

This is one of the most famous sports betting scandals in the history of US sports. The eight members of Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds and eventually banned from baseball for life.

Till today, there are many questions about this scandal. But it is a common belief that gambling syndicate led by Aaron Nelson, Arnold Rothstein, and Aiden Clayton gave the money to several White Sox players to underperform in several games of that World Series.

Boston College Point Shaving Scandal (1978)

This was the number one story in the late 1970s, as several Boston College players were paid by two small-time gamblers (Rocco and Tony Perla) to shave points in the games where their team was a heavy favorite.

The scheme was uncovered in the early 1980s, when mobster Henry Hill who also participated in this game-fixing scheme. Was arrested on drug trafficking charges and decided to share the story with the authorities for avoiding prison time.    

Tim Donaghy NBA Betting Scandal (2007)

One of the best NBA refs at that time, Tim Donaghy, was accused and sentenced to 15 months in jail after he admitted that he participated in gambling activities.

Donaghy had a gambling disorder, and after he lost a lot of money, he was approached by mob associates. This to work for them on a betting scheme.

He gave the inside information to the betting syndicate about players conditions and relationships between coaches and referees. And for this information he got money compensation.

To this day, it is still unclear if he used his position to manipulate the final scores… But many experts think he did it.    


Of course, there we other notable betting scandals in the past of the sport. But these three are, in our humble opinion, maybe the most iconic scandals.

Now, when sports betting is entirely legal there are fears that sport will not be uninfluenced by third parties. We can only hope that sports and betting will stay on opposite sides of the street. So that the game can remain pure and fair.


Are pro athletes allowed to gamble?

No. The professional leagues have a strict policy that prohibits athletes from participating in any form of gambling. Still, many famous athletes in the US had gambling problems. One of the NBA legends, Michael Jordan, loved and still loves to gamble. There is a list of stories about Michael betting a lot of money in casinos and on the golf courses. Many other former and active athletes also had gambling problems such as soccer player Wayne Rooney, NBA legend Charles Barkley and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

What is point-shaving in US sports?

In US sports, one of the most popular betting markets is the handicap market.The favorite in the game gets points handicap before the game starts. In order to win the bet, favorite needs to cover the spread and to win the game with more points than handicap is set. Point shaving is when one team in purpose miss scoring the needed number of points to cover the spread. They win the game, but with lover point difference then needed.

How to make a profit from sports betting?

This is a complicated question, and it is impossible to answer it in just a few sentences. In short, you need to be disciplined, to have certain skills, and to have a bit of luck.