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Badminton association says another player visited casino

Kyodo

An additional Japan national team player has admitted to entering an illegal casino, the Nippon Badminton Association revealed Monday.

The association is investigating illegal gambling on the national team after world No. 2 Kento Momota was found to have frequented casinos, which are barred in Japan.

Momota has received an indefinite suspension, barring him from participating in this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The additional player — whose name has been withheld — notified the association that he twice entered a casino last year in February and March, but said he did not wager.

The association investigated 106 players and staff with the national team since 2014 to ascertain whether they went to casinos.

“Considering his status as a national team member, the player cannot be exempt from some kind of discipline,” said Kinji Zeniya, the association’s chief executive.

The association intends to decide on the player’s punishment on Tuesday, while the board of directors will decide whether or not to make the player’s name public. Kenichi Tago, who invited Momota and others of his NTT East team to the illegal gambling establishments, also invited this player, who belongs to a different club.

The player said in a hearing that he attended twice but left after about 20 minutes, while asserting he did not gamble.

Tago, who lost huge sums of money at casinos also received an indefinite suspension from the association, his name was stricken from the association’s registry and he lost his job at Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corp. Momota was suspended from work for 30 days. The other players received playing bans ranging from six months to a year.

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