Report: Japanese Baseball Players implicated in Betting Scandal
Japan has been rocked by an illegal betting scandal that has seen its leading baseball team fined 10 million yen ($800,000) and three pitchers suspended indefinitely for betting on games.
The Yomiuri Giants apologized and announced they have terminated the contracts of Satoshi Fukuda, Shoki Kasahara and Ryuya Matsumoto, but the scandal looks set to rage on.
It is seen as a great embarrassment to a country preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where baseball was due to make a comeback after being ousted from the 2012 Games. Most sports wagering was outlawed across Japan in 1969 by the Criminal Code Chapter 23 after a match-fixing scandal that had links to organized crime.
The only sports Japanese bettors can wager on are horse racing, cycling, powerboat racing and motorcycle racing, and casinos are banned, although pinball-style slot machines called Pachinko are allowed, along with lotteries.
Baseball has enjoyed an unblemished record in Japan since 1969, but Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki said the trio had “degraded professional baseball and destroyed the trust of many fans”.
They face years in the wilderness and are unlikely to ever return, while the Tokyo Metropolitan Police is also investigating them.
Hidetoshi Fujisawa, executive director of communications and engagement for Tokyo 2020, said it would press on with plans to bring back baseball to the Olympics. “We condemn the incident in the strongest possible terms. We would like the relevant authorities to exert the utmost efforts in its investigation of this matter and implement the necessary measures to ensure that these types of illegal practices are completely eradicated,” said Fujisawa, according to a report at Dw.com.
Japanese bettors can find a list of online sportsbooks using the sportsbook rating guide.