Jontay Porter Cooperating In NBA Betting Probe, Lawyer Says

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NBA betting

The lawyer for Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter, who received a lifetime suspension for violating NBA betting policy, told the Associated Press last week his client was “in over his head due to a gambling addiction.” 

Porter allegedly hatched an NBA betting scheme with four co-conspirators to provide inside information in order to pay off significant gambling debts. 

Porter has been cooperating with investigators, his attorney said, though he has not been charged. 

“Jontay is a good young man with strong faith that will get him through this,” Porter’s attorney, Jeff Jensen, told the AP. “He was in over his head due to a gambling addiction. He is undergoing treatment and has been full cooperative with law enforcement.” 

Feds ID four in NBA betting scheme

All four co-conspirators have now been identified and charged in a criminal complaint

The AP reported that the lone previously unnamed co-conspirator, Ammar Awawdeh, turned himself in.

The other co-conspirators are Long Phi Pham, Mahmud Mollah and Timothy McCormack

Porter’s alleged debt to Awawdeh

The complaint states that Porter allegedly owed significant gambling debts to a group including Awawdeh.

To get out of debt, Porter checked out of two games with fake injuries. Related parlays placed on him by the co-conspirators could have paid out more than $1 million, had they not been caught. 

Awawdeh forced NBA betting ‘special’

Porter and Awawdeh allegedly engaged in a text messaging exchange on Telegram in early 2024

“Screenshot this . . . . Me ammar awawdeh born 7/23.1991 is forcing [Player 1] to do this,” Awawdeh wrote. 

In response, Porter wrote: “If I don’t do a special with your terms. Then it’s up. And u hate me and if I don’t get u 8k by Friday you’re coming to Toronto to beat me up.”

Awawdeh allegedly gave Mollah cash

A relative of Awawdeh placed a $10,000 parlay at DraftKings Sportsbook on the under for Porter’s 3-pointers, assists and steals on Jan. 26. The bet netted a profit of $75,000

Awawdeh is also alleged to have provided Mollah with cash when he placed multiple March 20 parlay bets on Porter with DraftKings. One of those wagers was for $80,000, and would have netted more than $1 million

On April 10, Awawdeh allegedly sent a text to Mollah, stating: “I really need you to hound [Betting Company 1]. At least get me back my principle $.”

How alleged schemers were caught

However, DraftKings reported the suspicious prop bets to the International Betting Integrity Association.

The IBIA then reported the activity to the FBI

Mollah’s account was frozen, and the bets were not paid out. 

What’s next after NBA betting scandal

Since the Porter scandal, the NBA and its legal sportsbook partners have been in conversations about the possibility of banning betting markets on two-way players, sources told LSR

One sportsbook told LSR that it would be fine with not offering unders on the 13th man, for instance. 

NBA seeks federal gambling oversight

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said last week that the league is advocating for a “federal regulatory framework” on gambling. 

“The fact that we were able to look at certain irregularities in betting lines, and the data that we were able to receive from our partners allowed this to come into the light,” Tatum said. “We’ve always been, again, an advocate for a federal regulatory framework here.

“I think it creates transparency that we didn’t have previously, which allows us to maintain the integrity of the sport, which is essential to all sports leagues.”

Photo by AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack