MLB’s gambling “thoughts and prayers”

Although we have yet to hear the full truth about the illegal gambling that has cost Ippei Mizuhara his job as Shohei Ohtani’s factotum and interpreter, Mizuhara did give a plausible explanation for a novice’s casual drift into gambling addiction hell.

Mizuhara, who claimed he was the one responsible for running up debts to an illegal bookmaker that were paid off by transfer’s from Ohtani’s bank account, said he began betting online through DraftKings, an official MLB gambling partner.

The story went that Mizuhara didn’t realize that placing bets with a bookmaker he met at a poker game was illegal. MLB prohibits betting on baseball as well as illegal gambling on sports. The wire transfers were discovered by the FBI in their investigation into the bookmaker.

“I’m terrible [at gambling]. Never going to do it again. Never won any money. I mean, I dug myself a hole and it kept on getting bigger, and it meant I had to bet bigger to get out of it and just kept on losing. It’s like a snowball effect.”

Ippei Mizuhara to ESPN

Addiction is a terrible curse, and MLB through its eagerness to suck up revenues by promoting only gambling are pushing vulnerable people close to something they should keep a distance from.

One could argue that gambling addicts would find other ways to gamble, and it is true, that some would, but behavior is often a combination of will AND opportunity, a concept known as “coupling.”

Take away the opportunity to gamble easily, and fewer people vulnerable to gambling addiction will fall prey to it. Increase the opportunities and gambling addictions will increase, and MLB is now a full partner in the addiction business.

So regardless whether the gambling addict was Mizuhara, Ohtani or his dog, MLB is going to look into this and make a ruling on the rule-breaking while offering the vulnerable fans it is encouraging to gamble some second-amendment caliber “thoughts and prayers.”

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