Russia Bans 24 Basketball Players over Gambling

Russia Bans 24 Basketball Players over Gambling

The Russian Basketball Federation has just completed one of the biggest gambling investigations in sports history, banning 24 players from 11 different teams.

Former NBA player Andrei Kirilenko, who’s now the president of the Russian Basketball Federation, recently launched an anti-corruption campaign. And these bans are believed to be part of his campaign.

The federation looked at data from bookmakers during their investigation, finding instances where players bet on their own clubs.

All 24 players are from the second-tier Russian Superleague, and they’ve been banned for periods ranging from six months to three years.

According to FOX Sports, none of the players’ names have been released, and it’s unknown whether they were betting on their teams to win or lose. Neither is acceptable in any sport, but wagering on one’s team to lose, like the Chicago Black Sox did, opens the door for under-performing to win bets.

Considering that the mild bans range from 6 months to 3 years, it’s likely that most or all of the players were wagering on their teams to win. Some players have even received smaller punishments because they made “honest” confessions about their dealings.

This is actually the second big international sports scandal in 2016. Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league discovered that Giants’ players Satoshi Fukuda, Shoki Kasahara and Ryuya Matsumoto all bet on games.

The good news is that none of the players were involved in any sort of match-fixing. However, the bad news is that players like Kasahara and Matsumoto are significant contributors to the Giants baseball team, which makes their gambling more notable.

Betting on Japanese baseball games is illegal in any form, so the players could also face legal charges if police press the matter.

Another story involving baseball players and gambling from this year centers on ex-minor league players who were busted in an online gambling sting.

Chris Costantino, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2009, and Sean Furney, who signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013, were two of the 17 people arrested in the raid.

According to police, the 17 men lived in towns around Rhode Island and may have also engaged in other criminal activities like selling drugs.

The men involved have only been arraigned, so trials and sentencing for the participants won’t be known until later in the year.