5 Banned in Baseball Betting Bust

5 Banned in Baseball Betting Bust

San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano received a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball (MLB) for betting on the sport, marking the game's most significant gambling scandal in decades. Alongside Marcano, four other players were suspended for one year each, MLB announced on Tuesday.

MLB revealed that Marcano had placed 387 bets on baseball, amounting to over $150,000, between October 2022 and the period from last July through November. These bets were made through a legal sportsbook. This decision makes Marcano the first active player in a century to be banned for life due to gambling activities.


In addition to Marcano, Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly was handed a one-year suspension for betting on baseball while he was in the minor leagues. Three other minor leaguers were also suspended for one year for betting on major league games. These players include pitchers Jay Groome of San Diego, Andrew Saalfrank of Arizona, and infielder José Rodríguez of Philadelphia. Each of these four players wagered less than $1,000. Saalfrank and Rodríguez had previous experience playing in the majors.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred emphasized the importance of upholding the integrity of the sport in his statement: “The strict enforcement of Major League Baseball’s rules and policies governing gambling conduct is a critical component of upholding our most important priority: protecting the integrity of our games for the fans. The longstanding prohibition against betting on Major League Baseball games by those in the sport has been a bedrock principle for over a century. We have been clear that the privilege of playing in baseball comes with a responsibility to refrain from engaging in certain types of behavior that are legal for other people.”

This crackdown underscores MLB's commitment to maintaining the integrity of the sport, a principle that has been central to the league's operations for over a century. The penalties imposed reflect the league's zero-tolerance policy towards gambling, ensuring that the sanctity of the game remains intact.

RELATED: Why legal sports betting is the solution, not the problem

The impact of these suspensions extends beyond the individual players involved, serving as a stern warning to others about the severe consequences of engaging in gambling activities. For Marcano, the lifetime ban signifies a devastating end to his career in professional baseball, a stark reminder of the risks associated with betting on the sport.

Similarly, the one-year suspensions for Kelly, Groome, Saalfrank, and Rodríguez highlight the league's commitment to enforcing its gambling policies at all levels of the sport. These players now face a significant setback in their careers, emphasizing the importance of adhering to the league's strict regulations.

The involvement of a legal sportsbook in these cases raises questions about the accessibility and influence of gambling within professional sports. While gambling has become increasingly normalized and legal in many areas, MLB's stance remains firm: those within the sport must adhere to a higher standard of conduct.

The scandal also brings attention to the role of education and awareness in preventing similar incidents in the future. MLB may need to intensify its efforts in educating players about the rules and the severe consequences of violating them. This could involve more comprehensive training programs and clearer communication about the league's expectations.

These bans represent a significant moment in Major League Baseball's ongoing efforts to protect the integrity of the game. Commissioner Rob Manfred's statement reiterates the league's unwavering commitment to this principle, reinforcing the message that gambling on baseball will not be tolerated under any circumstances. The repercussions for the players involved serve as a powerful deterrent, underscoring the importance of maintaining the purity of America's pastime.


Nick Slade
Chief Content Officer

Nick Slade, with nearly two decades of experience as a sports and betting expert, serves as the Chief Content Officer at Cipher Sports Technology Group, where he steers the editorial and digital content strategy for leading platforms like Dimers.com, Stats Insider and Gambling Today. Specializing in soccer, Nick brings a global perspective to his coverage of the sport, including detailed analyses of MLS games. He also contributes to NHL content through game previews, best bets, and props, and lends his expertise to crafting NBA first basket betting content. 

With a robust background as a journalist and broadcaster, Nick has been a trusted voice on major networks and channels such as Fox Sports, WCBV-TV Boston, ESPN, ABC, and others. His profound understanding of sports and betting dynamics has made him a sought-after authority in the wagering and gambling industries.

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