Prosecutors Say Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter Stole $16 Million From Star

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The case is a very public example of the fine line sports leagues are walking in regard to sports gambling. Professional leagues resisted any association with gambling for decades, but that has changed since a Supreme Court ruling six years ago led to 38 states now allowing legalized gambling on sports. (California is not one of them.)

Now leagues are taking millions of dollars from casinos and sports books, and advertisements from sports gambling companies are ubiquitous in stadiums and on game broadcasts. Still, the leagues worry about protecting the integrity of their games, and the perception that players wagering on games would affect their performances. Therefore, players are not allowed to bet on their sports or, in some cases, any sports.

Baseball has had several historically notable gambling scandals, including Pete Rose in the late ’80s and the 1919 Chicago Black Sox, making the situation especially delicate.

Tyler Hatcher, special agent in charge with the I.R.S. Criminal Investigation unit who was involved with the case, said that “protecting sports at the highest levels” is a priority of the federal government.

Estrada said the investigation moved so rapidly because of high public interest and questions that had been swirling about Ohtani’s connection to the case. Ohtani, 29, has been a major league phenomenon since coming to the United States from his native Japan in 2018. He both pitches and hits for power, drawing comparisons to greats like Babe Ruth. He was a two-time Most Valuable Player during six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels.

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