5 Biggest Sports Betting Scandals in History

Sports bettors are always looking for ways to win their wagers and become successful in the long run. To achieve this, they mostly implement strategies that are generally legal and fall within the accepted scope of sports betting. These include conducting in-depth research and analysis, looking for favorable odds and value bets, closely monitoring line movements, employing hedging and arbitrage betting strategies, etc. 

However, some bettors resort to illegal methods, such as match-fixing or rigging, proxy betting, insider betting, point shaving, etc. Some of these attempts have led to significant scandals that have left an indelible mark on the sports betting world. While they attract severe legal penalties, betting scandals have always been a major concern, and they remain so today.

This article covers some of the biggest scandals of all time in sports betting history. But before we dive in, you can visit this website if you’re looking for a reputable online sportsbook to wager on your favorite sports events.

1) The Black Sox Scandal (1919)

The Black Sox incident is one of the most scandalous episodes in sports history. It involved eight Chicago White Sox players who were accused of deliberately losing the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from a gambling ring. This scandal rocked Major League Baseball and left a lasting impact that inspired different books and movies.

The idea was reportedly hatched by first baseman Arnold “Chick” Gandil, who had connections to the gamblers. At the time, the team was discontented with the low salaries and poor working conditions imposed by team owner Charles Comiskey. Therefore, Chick, alongside seven other players, agreed to participate in the fix for a total payout of $100,000, a significant amount of money at the time.

Upon discovering the incident, an investigation began, leading to a trial involving the gamblers and the eight players. The players involved were eventually indicted on nine counts of conspiracy but ended up acquitted due to insufficient evidence and missing confessions. However,  they were all ultimately handed a permanent ban from professional baseball.

2) The Tim Donaghy Scandal (2007)

Tim Donaghy was an NBA referee from 1994 to 2007, officiating over 700 NBA matches in his career. In 2007, he was found to have bet on games he officiated and influenced the outcomes to benefit his bets and those of a gambling syndicate.

The scandal was discovered through an FBI investigation, which began in 2006. It was revealed that Donaghy had been placing bets and sharing confidential information about players, referees, and game conditions. He had also been making calls during games to manipulate the point spread, favoring his bets and those of his associates.

In August 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty to these charges. He was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and was released in November 2009 after serving his time.

3) The CCNY Point Shaving (1951)

College sports were seen as a pure corruption-free and amateur endeavor until the CCNY point-shaving scandal in 1951. The scandal centered around City College of New York (CCNY) players, which had one of the most successful college basketball programs. At that time, they were the only team to win the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and the NCAA Tournament in the same year.

The scandal was first discovered in January 1951 when three CCNY players were arrested for accepting bribes to fix games. This incident led to a broader investigation, which revealed the involvement of over 32 players and six other American schools. Essentially, the players were receiving payments to manipulate the score of games, such that it favors placed wagers.

The involved students received suspended sentences and probation and were banned from playing college basketball. Several involved gamblers and intermediaries were also prosecuted and convicted.

4) The Pete Rose’s Banishment (1989)

As a 17-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion, Pete Rose was a household name in Major League Baseball. Charlie Hustle, as he was popularly called, had an illustrious career from 1963 to 1986, and he even served as a manager.

Pete Rose’s scandal came to light as a rumor in the late 1980s, which prompted the then commissioner, Peter Ueberroth, to launch an inquiry into the allegations. A series of investigations uncovered various pieces of evidence, including testimonies from bookies and associates, phone records, and betting slips. Thus, it was revealed that Rose had bet on baseball games while he was both a player and manager.

Although Rose did not formally admit to the charges against him, he did not contest them either. Instead, he voluntarily accepted a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list, which meant he wouldn’t be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame despite his achievements. In 2004, Rose eventually admitted to betting on MLB games in his autobiography “My Prison Without Bars.”

5) Boston College Point Shaving (1978)

The Boston College point shaving was another notorious corruption case in college basketball. Like the CCNY scandal, it also involved players conspiring with gamblers to manipulate the outcomes of games. They did this by intentionally missing shots, committing fouls, or ensuring their teams didn’t score enough points.

The scandal was first discovered when Henry Hill, who was part of the betting syndicate, was arrested for drug trafficking charges. He released evidence of the point-shaving scheme, cooperating with authorities to avoid or reduce his jail term.

Henry Hill’s revelation led to further investigation, which uncovered all the parties involved in the scandal. The case was trialed, and all involved parties were convicted and received various sentences. Notably, Rick Kuhn, a forward on the team who played a significant part in the scheme, received a ten-year sentence. However, he ended up serving only 28 months.


The integrity of sports has been compromised multiple times by betting scandals driven by greed and the allure of easy money. The incidents above underscore the importance of vigilance, transparency, fair play, and ethical conduct in maintaining the true sporting spirit and passing it to future generations. They also show that the consequences of getting caught are severe and far-reaching.

Leave a Comment