Tim Donaghy: The NBA Referee’s Downfall

Tim Donaghy, a seasoned NBA referee with nearly 800 games and 14 seasons under his belt, saw his 13-year career come to an abrupt halt in July 2007. Although the courts couldn’t conclusively prove Donaghy made biased calls in games he officiated, he was found guilty of betting on those very matches, raising suspicions of match-fixing. His actions, along with those of two close associates who also placed bets on games he refereed, resulted in Donaghy serving 11 months in a Florida prison.

Pete Rose: The MLB Scandal

In Major League Baseball, betting on one’s games is strictly forbidden, a rule that Pete Rose, the player-manager for the Cincinnati Reds, was accused of violating. For 15 years, Rose denied these allegations until 2004 when he admitted to betting on Reds games in his autobiography. He defended his actions by claiming his bets were expressions of love and confidence in his team. Despite this, Rose faced a five-month prison sentence in Marion, Illinois, a $50,000 fine, and upon his 1991 release, an additional $300,000 payment in back taxes, interest, and 1,000 hours of community service. Moreover, he received a lifetime ban from baseball betting.

Dan Tan: The Match-Fixing Kingpin

Dan Tan, known internationally as a mastermind behind match-fixing in soccer, was implicated in manipulating over 150 games across various countries including Italy, Finland, Nigeria, and Hungary. After a four-year investigation by several European governments, a 2013 raid in Singapore led to his arrest, largely thanks to information from his business partner, Wilson Raj Perumal. Tan spent two years in jail before being released on appeal, only to be re-arrested six days later for suspected ongoing criminal activities. He was eventually released in December 2019 but remains under strict surveillance, including electronic tagging, curfews, and mandatory weekly police check-ins.

Billy Walters

Billy Walters is a name synonymous with the world of professional gambling, particularly in sports betting. Recognized as one of the most successful sports bettors in Las Vegas history, Walters’ gambling career spanned over three decades. However, his practices weren’t always within the confines of the law. In 2017, Walters was convicted for his involvement in an insider trading scheme that netted him profits of approximately $43 million. The case centered around his use of non-public information from the former chairman of Dean Foods, Thomas C. Davis, to make lucrative trades. Walters was sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined $10 million, marking a significant downfall for the gambling legend. Despite his conviction, Walters maintains a legendary status in gambling circles for his complex betting strategies and significant wins.

Terry Watanabe

Terry Watanabe’s story is a cautionary tale of gambling addiction and the potential for significant financial loss. As the former owner of the Oriental Trading Company, Watanabe was known for his lavish spending and extensive gambling sprees in Las Vegas casinos throughout 2007. His gambling habits led to one of the most significant losing streaks in casino history, with reported losses of around $127 million in a single year. Unlike others who faced jail time for their gambling activities, Watanabe’s consequences were financial, leading to a legal battle with Harrah’s Casino over debts amounting to millions of dollars. His story highlights the personal and financial risks associated with high-stakes gambling and addiction.

These individuals add to the list of infamous figures in the gambling world, showcasing the broad spectrum of outcomes—from criminal activities to personal downfalls—associated with the industry.