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Ontario police open Jontay Porter criminal investigation

| By Jill R. Dorson
On Tuesday (18 June) a representative for Ontario's Provincial Police told ESPN that it has opened a criminal investigation into former Toronto Raptor Jontay Porter.
raptors jontay porter investigation

NBA commissioner Adam Silver in April issued Jontay Porter a lifetime ban from the league for betting on his own team and sharing personal information with bettors.

According to ESPN, the OPP Investigation and Enforcement Bureau will coordinate with US federal authorities, who are also investigating wrongdoing surrounding two NBA games. Porter took himself out of games on 26 January and 22 March. According to a federal affidavit, Porter allegedly left the games early at the behest of of Ammar Awawdeh.

“Screenshot this … Me ammar awawdeh born 7/23/91 is forcing [Player 1] to do this,” reads a text in the affidavit. Porter allegedly replied with: “If I don’t do a special with your terms. Then it’s up. And u hate me and if I don’t get you 8k by Friday you’re coming to Toronto to beat me up.”

Porter is not identified in the affidavit. But the key dates related to Porter’s lifetime ban align with the dates in the affidavit. The affidavit also shows that “Player 1” was banned from the NBA and Porter is the only player to receive such a penalty.

Was Porter betting illegally?

The texts at least imply that Porter was betting illegally, while Awawdeh and his associates took the information Porter shared and bet with DraftKings and FanDuel. DraftKings first reported suspicious betting activity to the NBA after the 26 January game.

Single-event sports betting is legal in Ontario, and in New Jersey, where the bettors placed their wagers. But it is a violation of NBA rules to bet on the league. Any player who bets on his own team is subject to a lifetime ban. When the NBA first opened its investigation, Silver made clear that he would not spare a player betting on his own team.

“I have an enormous range of discipline available to me,” Silver said in April, according to the Associated Press. “It’s a cardinal sin what he’s accused of in the NBA. The ultimate extreme option I have is to ban him from the game. That’s the level of authority I have here because there’s nothing more serious.”

US authorities have not charged Porter. But Awawdeh and three others have been charged with wire fraud. All were caught or turned themselves in and were arraigned in federal court in New York in early June. The four either bet on or financed betting on the “under” for points, rebounds, or assists in the games Porter removed himself from.

Jontay Porter is the brother of Denver Nugget Michael Porter. The Nuggets won the NBA Finals in 2023. Michael Porter scored 16 points and had 13 rebounds when the Nuggets sealed their win in Game 5.

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