A pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants Satoshi Fukuda has been suspended for betting on games, including those involving his own team.
According to Giants president Hiroshi Kubo on Monday, Fukuda’s acquaintance contacted the team last month, saying the pitcher had not paid his gambling debts.
Fukuda had been invited to bet on games by an employee at a tax accounting firm who had been introduced by Giants pitcher Shoki Kasahara. Fukuda has allegedly bet on 10 Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) games and 10 major league games in an attempt to win back his losses.
In total, Fukuda is believed to have lost substantially more than ¥1 million.
Fukuda spent the entire season with the Giants’ minor league team, which leaves no suspicion that he fixed games he bet on, but his actions were still a violation of the NPB charter, requiring the team to notify the commissioner’s office.
The Giants, which have made it into this season’s playoffs, have suspended both Fukuda and Kasahara.
The club has also launched an investigation involving all players and staff after receiving calls from fans criticizing Fukuda for gambling on baseball and considers passing the accusation of illegal gambling to the police.
NPB commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki said in a press conference that the scandal does not involve organized crime.
“At this stage, no significant information on (gang involvement) has been received,” said Kumazaki. “However, that does not mean we are not investigating (that aspect).”
Meanwhile, Niigata Prefectural Police has raided the headquarters of Japan‘s largest yakuza Yamaguchi-gumi as police sought evidence in connection with 5 million yen bets placed on NPB games.
Last month, police arrested top boss Kenji Otsu for accepting wagers from four gamblers from August 4-10 and chairman of the Niigata-based Genseida-kai Hiromutsu Hiromatsu, an affiliate gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi, for participation in the bookmaking.