Problem Gambling News June 2024

Things are heating up in the world of problem gambling as America prepares to enter the summer. Sports betting scandals remain to be the focus of this month’s news report, with the MLB and NBA leading the way in the unfortunate category. That being said, there is one story on the docket that concerned parties hope to see further development from. Please read ahead.

June 2024 News Regarding Problem Gambling and Sports Betting that America Needs to Know About

Baseball’s Sports Betting Problem Gets Worse

Last year (2023) it was the National Football League (NFL) that received the most attention regarding league gambling policy violations and subsequent player suspensions. In 2024, Major League Baseball is receiving the brunt of the bad press. It all started with questions surrounding Los Angeles Dodgers’ superstar Shohei Ohtani, but just as quickly as that was put to bed, a larger problem came to light. On June 4, the MLB announced one-year suspensions for four players, including Michael Kelly (Athletics), Jay Groome (Padres), José Rodríguez (Phillies) and Andrew Saalfrank (Diamondbacks) for unrelated violations of the league’s gambling policy. Meanwhile, Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano received a lifetime ban because unlike the four other players, Marcano placed bets on games where he was a member of roster.

While baseball is no stranger to gambling scandals, this recent news sends a shockwave through the league and professional sports as a whole. Let’s not forget that the NBA had to issue a lifetime ban for Toronto Raptors’ Jontay Porter early this spring for wagering on his own games.

Further Developments in the NBA Jontay Porter Case

On June 4, ESPN announced that a Brooklyn man was arrested and charged in connection with the above-mentioned illegal sports betting scheme involving Jontay Porter. The man arrested is named Long Phi Pham (aka “Bruce”) who is being charged with conspiring with others to defraud a sports betting company by placing bets on Porter on games played January 26 and March 20, 2024. Pham was arrested while attempting to flee the country to Australia. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicates that three co-conspirators are also being sought.

This is the stuff of movies, and begs to question as to whether or not Porter was in any way coerced by match-fixers who are cut from the same cloth as Michael Franzese, former head of the Colombo crime family. In the video below, Franzese describes how he worked with bookies to force athlete gamblers to shave points:

YouTube video

Military Casino Ban Among Proposals for Annual Defense Bill

If you’ve been following developments at Kindbridge Behavioral Health, then you know that military mental health is a top priority. Our Colorado Military Veterans Project serves as a model of support for each state across the nation. The project emphasizes the vulnerabilities that servicepersons and veterans have to problem gambling. These vulnerabilities are unintentionally exploited via the presence of casinos on or near military bases. Recognizing the problem, a congressman has stepped up to make a change.

On June 6, Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prohibit the military from operating slot machines on bases. The proposed amendment is one of more than 1,300 that lawmakers have filed so far in hopes of getting a vote when the NDAA is debated on the House floor in the second week of June. At press there is no insight as to the odds of success for Tonko’s filing, but it’s a positive indicator. At the very least, it will spread greater awareness about one risk that our military faces on the home-front.

Stay tuned for more as stories develop.

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Problem Gambling News 2024