The 5 Most Famous Sports Betting Conspiracies & Controversies

The 5 Most Famous Sports Betting Conspiracies & Controversies

 The 5 Most Famous Sports Betting Conspiracies & Controversies

Sports betting conspiracies and controversies are nothing new; they have been there since the inception of sports itself.  There have been famous theories from the 20th century that include fixes enforced by mobs, biased referees, as well as threats of mid-match assassination.

The following are the top 5 legendary sports betting conspiracies and controversies:

“The Black Sox” Conspiracy

Although it happened a century back in 1919, the baseball’s “Black Sox” scandal actually ranks among the most famous scandals in the history of professional sports. It has not only been referenced in Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Godfather II but was also immortalized in one of the sports betting favourite movies, Eight Men Out.

In this scandal, 8 Chicago White Sox baseball players were accused of purposefully losing the 1919 World Series they played against the Cincinnati Reds.  Arnold Rothstein’s sports betting organization rewarded them for doing so. 

Tim Donaghy’s Career

Maybe the most infamous figure in the history of contemporary sports betting conspiracy is the shamed NBA referee Tim Donaghy whose career spanned between1994-2007. Whether it is his venomous statements he makes against the NBA or his wild personal life, he somehow finds a way of getting back in the news – always. 

In 2007 a story in the New York Post claimed that a corrupt NBA referee, who was later disclosed to be Donaghy, was being investigated by the FBI. The NBA took a quick action to nullify the negative press, firing him immediately. However, later that year, Donaghy pleaded guilty to federal fraud.  He admitted that he intentionally affected point spreads as well as game results to benefit him and other sports bettors. 

Battle of the Sexes

A tennis match in 1973 between the then world’s second top female tennis player, Billie Jean King, and Bobby Riggs, retired Wimbledon champion was dubbed the “Battles of the Sexes”. The objective of the match was to determine whether or not a female competitor could actually compete against a male equivalent.  The winner was to take home a whopping $100,000 prize.  

Riggs had earlier in the year challenged the then world’s No. 1 female tennis player Margaret Court to a tennis game, in which he had beat beaten her in under an hour with 6-1 & 6-2 victories. 

The King vs. Riggs Shocking Upset 

In their match, King lost 6-4, then 6-3, and 6-3 to Riggs, which instantly led to a general distrust in the tennis fraternity, with many suggesting that he had deliberately lost the match. 

Ali versus Liston

Among the most famous controversies is the boxing match on May 25th, 1965 between Muhammad Ali and the former world heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston, Round II. Making out the exact motivation behind it is not impossible. 

!n 1964, Ali won the heavyweight boxing title from Liston, was back in the ring to fight Liston at St. Dominic’s Hall, Lewiston in Maine.  Ever since, the alleged “phantom punch” that Ali dispatched to Liston in round II has been a subject of discussion by the boxing fans, with many saying it was rather harmless, while others say it was a perfectly-placed punch that would actually knock out a tough opponent. A good number believe that Liston deliberately lost the match. 

Operation Slapshot

Starting from the 1980s, the NHL had gone through several different sports betting scandals. However, in the NHL’s history, only one thing – which the FBI dubbed “Operation Slapshot” – resembles a sports betting conspiracy. Rick Tocchet, Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach, was found guilty of operating an illegitimate sports betting operation. 

Several other people who were involved in the NHL were also implicated in the scandal. They included players, coaches, and managers.