Yomiuri Giants faces ¥5M fine, pitcher banned from playing over baseball gambling scandal

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Japan’s oldest professional baseball, the Yomiuri Giants, has been ordered to pay ¥5 million in fines after another of its players was found to have bet on baseball.

Yomiuri Giants faces ¥5M fine, pitcher banned from playing over baseball gambling scandalThe player, pitcher Kyosuke Takagi, has been suspended for one year, the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) announced on Tuesday, according to Kyodo News.

The 26-year-old left-handed reliever, who has pitched in 139 games in the past four seasons for the Giants, came clean early this month about betting on baseball in 2014. He is the fourth Giants player to have been involved in baseball gambling, but authorities said there was no evidence that the four players were involved in match fixing or betting on games in which they played.

The three other players, Satoshi Fukuda, Shoki Kasahara and Ryuya Matsumoto, were banned for life from playing baseball. Takagi, on the other hand, received a lighter sentence “due to the brief period of his involvement after cutting off ties with Kasahara,” according to the report.

Takagi admitted he stopped wagering after he lost between ¥500,000 and ¥600,000.

Kasahara, who encouraged Takagi to bet on eight or nine games between April to May 2014, was found to have bet on between 10 and 20 professional and high school baseball games that year, while also playing mahjong and golf for money.

The gambling scandal has prompted three of Yomiuri Giants’ top officials—owner Kojiro Shiraishi, team chairman Tsunekazu Momoi and team adviser Tsuneo Watanabe—to resign from their positions. Watanabe, who is considered as a powerful figure in the Japanese baseball world, was the owner of the club until he resigned in 2004.

The Giants has already been fined some ¥10 million before Tuesday’s announcement, according to an Agence France Presse report.

Gambling, including most sport betting, is still considered illegal in the country, and the Giants’ gambling scandal came at a time when the country is bidding for baseball’s inclusion to the 2020 Olympics.

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