Olympic ban for Japanese star who visited casino

Olympic ban for Japanese star who visited casino

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 Totally Gaming
World No.2 Kento Momota has been suspended from Japan's national team

Japan’s cultural opposition to gambling has again been on display after one of the country’s best hopes of an Olympic gold medal this summer was barred from the Rio 2016 Games after admitting to gambling at an illegal casino.

Badminton medal hope and world No.2 Kento Momota was banned from competition indefinitely by the Nippon Badminton Association (NBA) after an emergency meeting to decide on the player's fate. Team-mate Kenichi Tago, also found guilty of placing illegal bets, was removed from the organisation's official player list for an indefinite period.

The ban against Momota comes in the aftermath of a scandal in baseball, with four Yomiuri Giants players having been suspended for illegal wagering on their own sport in the last year, leading to the resignation of a number of club executives.

The outcry over gambling that is not related to sport led Japan’s Olympic soccer coach, Makoto Teguramori, to issue a warning to his players.

“I will tell it to them straight,” Teguramori said. “There are many social temptations and they still lack decision-making power. This could happen in soccer.”

Momota dyed his highlighted hair black as an act of contrition as he appeared in front of the media to apologise for his actions. He admitted visiting a casino six times and gambling away Y500,000 ($4,500).

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.

TotallyGaming.com says: The outcry over sports stars admitting to gambling in recent months makes it difficult to see how legislation can be passed that would allow integrated resorts to be built in the country, and certainly not by the start of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Conservative parties remain opposed to any expansion of gambling, while the furore over exposes of celebrities visiting casinos or betting on sports shows that great swathes of Japanese society are also uncomfortable with the notion.

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