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Badminton stars Momota, Tago also gambled at illegal slot parlor

Kenichi Tago (L) and Kento Momota
Kenichi Tago (L) and Kento Momota

TOKYO (TR) – A gambling scandal involving two Japanese badminton stars, both disciplined earlier this week for gambling at an illegal casino, now includes revelations that the pair also visited a slot parlor, reports Sankei Sports (April 12)

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East (NTT East), the sponsor of the players’ badminton team, said on Tuesday that Kenichi Tago, 26, visited the parlor, which provided access to slot machines in violation of the law in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, approximately 20 times and lost about 500,000 yen. Kento Momota, 21, who is ranked fourth in the world, went five times and dropped around 100,000 yen.

The revelations follow a report issued by NTT East on Friday that said Tago patronized a baccarat casino, also located in Sumida, about 10 times per month between October of 2014 and March of 2015. According to NTT East, Tago lost approximately 10 million yen during his visits.

He also introduced Momota to the same casino, which prior to its bust in April of last year was linked to organized crime. Momota visited six times through January of last year and lost about 500,000 yen.

As punishment for the illegal wagering, NTT East on Monday fired Momota. The day before, the Nippon Badminton Association handed Momota an indefinite suspension, which means he will not participate in this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The scandal initially broke on April 7, the day both players returned to Japan after participating in a tournament in Malaysia.