The growing number of incidents of athletes being harassed by sports bettors continue to draw mainstream attention. A recent incident involving Washington Wizard Bradley Beal could result in criminal charges, except it would be against the athlete and not the bettor.
According to a report from TMZ, police are investigating an incident that occurred on March 22 after the game between the Wizards and the Magic at the Amway Center in Orlando. As Beal was walking with teammates through the tunnel to the locker room, a fan allegedly yelled, “You f***ed me [out of] $1,300, you f***!”
Beal then allegedly walked back to the fan and flipped the fan’s hat off his head, called the comment disrespectful, and said betting was not why he played the game. The verbal sparring continued for just short of a minute before staff escorted Beal towards the locker room.
TMZ reported the Orlando Police is looking into a potential simple battery charge, which in layman’s terms means he unlawfully touched someone with force.
This is the latest in a series of incidents where losing bettors have verbally lashed out at players for losing wagers. Earlier this month, many bettors lashed out at TCU guard Damion Baugh for hitting a last-second shot in the Gonzaga-TCU March Madness game that did not impact the outcome of the game but did results in a backdoor cover of the spread.
Earlier this year, Dayton men’s basketball head coach Anthony Grant took time out of a press conference to note that his athletes were experiencing more fan harassment now that Ohio sports betting was live.
Florida is a state where sports betting is currently prohibited, so it is unclear whether or not the bettor involved had wagered illegally or not. Either way, it is yet another incident drawing the attention of the industry and non-sports betting world alike.
Ohio is a state considering regulations that might exclude bettors proven to have lashed out at athletes over losing wagers.