This story was published more than 3 years ago.
This week a former member of the Yakuza organized crime ring was sentenced to 18 months in jail for his connection with the betting scandal that involved players from the Yomiuri Giants baseball team.
Yoshimasa Sakai was given the jail sentence by Tokyo District Court Judge Yuko Ito, who suspended the sentence for three years. Sakai collected ¥1.27 million in baseball bets, including both high school and professional matches. The case embroiled the Yomiuri Giants, who had several ex-players placing bets with restauranteur Satoshi Saito, who in turn placed them with Sakai.
In his ruling, Ito said that while Sakai's crime wasn't small, he has broken from the Yakuza and is working to re-shape his life, hence the suspended sentence.
In Japan, gambling is considered to be illegal, although pachinko parlors and underground betting is present for those who really want in on the action. THe country is currently working to pass a law that would legalize betting in the country, hopefully in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics.