• Kyodo


Former Yomiuri Giants pitcher Shoki Kasahara, who has admitted betting on baseball, was arrested on Friday on suspicion of illegal gambling along with restaurant operator Satoshi Saito.

Kasahara is one of four Giants pitchers who have been released and suspended after admitting to betting on baseball games. He and two others, Satoshi Fukuda and Ryuya Matsumoto, confessed to the illegal betting last October, while a fourth pitcher, Kyosuke Takagi, owned up to gambling in March.

The first three received indefinite suspensions from Nippon Professional Baseball, while Takagi received a one-year ban.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, Saito organized a betting scheme and took a commission on bets, including 15 different wagers by Kasahara on pro and high school baseball games between March 2014 and August 2015.

“I’ve ruined the lives of Takagi-san and Matsumoto by soliciting them. I regret it,” Kasahara told Kyodo News earlier this month.

Saito said, “We as friends have been betting on computer games and golf and I taught (betting on baseball) along those lines. I didn’t know players other than Kasahara were involved until the things were exposed, but I was thinking there was someone else betting through Kasahara as he was starting to wager more money.”

“We’ll thoroughly cooperate with the police investigation to assemble the picture of the two soliciting gambling on baseball within the team,” Yomiuri said in a statement.

NPB commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki said, “Our investigations committee has continued its investigation and has been cooperating with the authorities. We take the arrests seriously and we’ll take preventative measures with a greater sense of urgency.”

After the scandal broke late last year, the Central League club announced in November that it would release Fukuda, Kasahara and Matsumoto.

Atsushi Harasawa, the team’s representative to Nippon Professional Baseball, also resigned, at the time.

The scandal widened to include Takagi in March. The club apologized for causing trouble and announced team owner Kojiro Shiraishi, team chairman Tsunekazu Momoi and supreme adviser Tsuneo Watanabe would step down to accept responsibility.

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