The last few years have seen a dramatic downfall of Taiwan’s beloved pastime, baseball, but truth be told, the league has been home to scandal since its start in 1989. The cheating that has allegedly been going on for years has now evolved.
Initially whole teams were being accused of intentionally throwing games to make a profit on the side. In the past 12 years, 5 teams were disbanded from the league for confirmed activities of this nature. At this point, individual players are being targeted by investigations. Currently, 6 players are under investigation including Tsao Chin-hui, who was once pitcher for both the Colorado Rockies and the LA Dodgers.
According to Prosecutor Cheng Hsin-hung, investigators “have ruled out the possibility that the players were intimidated and forced into throwing games.” At this point investigators are searching for signs that would indicate whether the players “accepted improper benefits.” One unnamed investigator said that “starting pitchers could earn up to $90,000 per outing from high stakes gamblers for agreeing to throw games.”
Though Taiwanese gambling laws are not at stake, the integrity of the baseball is. In the last 5 years, the league’s 4 teams have lost 45% of their stadium attendance. In order to spark interest and promote attendance, celebrities and the president have appeared at recent games. Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau said it logged 102 illegal baseball betting cases, involving 222 people, last year. With betting on land close to forbidden, many turn to internet betting in Taiwan.
There are many online sportsbooks in Taiwan that offer ways to bet, but regardless, the teams shouldn’t be throwing the games. This is an on-going problem, but with this investigation underway, the practice may soon come to an end. Offshore casinos in Taiwan are under construction at this point, so in the near future, punters who are fueling these scandals will have more opportunities to satisfy their gambling needs.