Shohei Ohtani Claims He Never Wagered on Sports, Pete Rose Weighs In

Posted on: March 26, 2024, 07:13h. 

Last updated on: March 27, 2024, 11:38h.

MLB star player Shohei Ohtani has repeated earlier statements from his legal team that his interpreter, who was reportedly facing massive gambling debts, stole money from him.

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani, at right, speaks to reporters with a new interpreter at his side. Ohtani denied he ever paid gambling debts for his former interpreter. (Image: ABC News)

The Los Angeles Dodgers superstar also told reporters he has never wagered on athletics and was unaware the interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, had debts until the interpreter told the entire team in a meeting.

In a 12-minute press briefing on Monday, Ohtani, 29, told more than 70 reporters, through a new interpreter, that he never made payments to an alleged illegal bookmaker used by Mizuhara.

Mizuhara Told ‘Lies’

“Up until a few days ago, I didn’t know this was happening,” Ohtani said. “In conclusion, Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.”

I’ve never bet on baseball or any other sports or asked someone to do it on my behalf,” Ohtani added. “I’ve never asked a bookmaker to do it on my behalf.”

Last week Mizuhara told ESPN that Ohtani sent money to the betting operation to cover Mizuhara’s gambling debt. Mizuhara owed at least $4.5M. But within hours, Mizuhara changed his story and told ESPN Ohtani didn’t pay off the debt.

“I never agreed to pay off the debt or make payments to the bookmaker,” Ohtani repeated on Monday.

In a meeting between the two men, Mizuhara eventually told Ohtani that “he was sending money, using my account, to the bookmaker,” Ohtani said on Monday, according to

“When I was finally able to talk to my representatives, that’s when my representatives found out Ippei has been lying the whole time, and I started contacting the Dodgers and my lawyers,” Ohtani said. “My lawyers recommended that since this is fraud, that we have the proper authorities handle this matter.”

Mizuhara was fired by the Dodgers when the controversy came to light. Major League Baseball has launched its own investigation and another inquiry is underway by the feds, targeting Mizuhara and Mathew Bowyer, who was identified as the operator of the gambling operation.

Ohtani is currently under a 10-year, $700M contract with the Dodgers. That is a record amount for North American professional sports. Originally from Japan, the two-time MLB MVP formerly played for the Los Angeles Angels.

Las Vegas Connection

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Tuesday that Bowyer has a history of placing “large wagers” in Las Vegas. Bowyer has also been banned from gaming properties in Las Vegas, according to The Washington Post.

Bowyer was previously reported to have lost $425K at the Aria and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The Aria attempted to collect $250K after an alleged bounced check was presented for payment.

Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, meanwhile, is still trying to collect $1.2 million in casino markers from Bowyer, according to news reports.

Pete Rose Jokes

Commenting on the controversy, former MLB star Pete Rose posted a video to Instagram joking about his own gambling history.

Well, back in the 70s and 80s, I wish I’d had an interpreter. I’d be Scott-free,” Rose joked.

The one-time Cincinnati Reds player was banned from baseball for betting on 50 of his team’s games.