Japanese betting scandal shows opposition to gambling

Japanese betting scandal shows opposition to gambling

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 Totally Gaming

Japan’s ingrained opposition to gambling has again been highlighted by a betting scandal involving the country’s top baseball team.

Yomiuri Giants pitcher Kyosuke Takagi this week became the fourth of the team’s players to admit to illegal wagering on the sport in the last year.

Takagi said he had bet on up to four games and lost as much as ¥600,000 (€4,800/$5,300) since 2014, but like his colleagues – who were suspended indefinitely last October – he claimed to have not gambled on matches involving his own team.

An investigation has been launched by the Nippon Professional Baseball Organisation, while three Giants executives, including ‘supreme adviser’ Tsuneo Watanabe, the media mogul, have resigned from their management positions to take responsibility.

Japan’s cultural opposition to gambling was emphasised by the reaction of Yoshihide Suga, the country’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, who discussed the case during a news conference on Wednesday.

“Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan, and the professional baseball players are role models for many children,” Suga said. “The fact that those who took part in betting on baseball is spreading is an extremely serious problem—it’s an act that betrays the fans.”

Almost all gambling is illegal in Japan, but a bill that would allow integrated resorts to open was discussed in Parliament last year. A vote on the proposals was cancelled last August, with much opposition from groups who are concerned about the potential for social issues relating to problem gambling and corruption.

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