What is a referee who bets on the NBA considered?

There has been one publicly-reported case on an NBA referee betting on league games, which landed that official in prison.

Tim Donaghy was an NBA official in the league from 1994-2007. He served 11 months in a federal prison camp after pleading guilty to two federal charges relating to an FBI investigation that alleged that he made calls affecting point spreads in NBA some games that he officiated.

Donaghy was allegedly in debt and placed tens of thousands of dollars in bets on games between 2005-07. He allegedly worked with two high school classmates by passing along information on games where he would attempt to alter the result of a game, usually by calling fouls on a particular team to help secure an outcome that was favorable to the point spread.

Ironically, while the men who were making and winning the bets were running up sizable profits with Donaghy’s help, the referee himself made as little as $2,000 per game in the scheme, which was later increased to $5,000.

In total, Donaghy reportedly received $30,000 for the games he reportedly passed information to the associates, although the investigation specifically revealed two games in particular where Donaghy likely changed the final outcome.

Donaghy’s associates in the criminal action also served sentences.

In general, gambling experts believe that greater regulation leads to the necessary controls that prevent the possibility of personnel fixing the result of professional sporting events

Legal bookmakers’ use of limits, market tracking, betting patterns and sharing of information with other trusted companies are a great deterrent in the possible proliferation of illegal activities that can affect the outcome of games.


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