In Ippei Mizuhara’s text messages, problem gamblers see a familiar obsession

In Ippei Mizuhara’s text messages, problem gamblers see a familiar obsession

Article brief provided by The Athletic
  • Stephen J. Nesbitt, The Athletic
April 20, 2024 1:59 PM
  • Stephen J. Nesbitt, The Athletic

As Astros fan Saul Malek read the criminal complaint alleging interpreter Ippei Mizuhara stole more than $16 million from Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani to pay his gambling debts, Malek was less stunned by the enormity of Mizuhara’s sports betting habit than by how familiar his behavior felt.

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Malek, 26, is a recovering gambling addict. The rush he first chased with fantasy sports became problematic in college when he was connected with a bookie. Malek put $10 on the Royals to beat the Blue Jays. The Royals won, 15-5. Easy money. Malek won a $20 bet that weekend, underdog Bears over Steelers in overtime. Soon Malek started betting bigger — $50, then $100 — and losing.