Marcano Banned for Life from MLB, Four Others Gone for Year

  • Tucupita Marcano is a 24-year-old shortstop from Venezuela, playing for the San Diego Padres, but is currently on the disabled list with a knee injury.
  • He has been banned for life after Major League Baseball accused him of making bets on the Pittsburgh Pirates when Marcano played for them last season.
  • Four other players were banned for a year as they wagered on baseball, but not on their teams .

You can’t avoid online gambling nowadays, and Tucupita Marcano is the latest person who is in a delicate situation. He has been accused of betting, which is illegal for pro athletes.

Sports and leagues are being more diligent in policing the gambling of their players. They don’t want another Pete Rose situation, as Major League Baseball banned the all-time hits leader from the league in 1989 after his playing career.

It looks like they might have exactly that on their hands now, albeit, with a much lesser name. But Tucupita Marcano is in a lot of hot water with Major League Baseball after a lifetime ban was doled out.

Marcano Banned For Betting On His Team, Four Others Suspended

Marcano is a 24-year-old from Venezuela, who is in his fourth season in Major League Baseball. He signed with San Diego in 2016 as an international free agent, and then made his big-league debut with the Padres in 2021, playing 25 games. Marcano was then traded to Pittsburgh, playing a combined 124 games for the Pirates before he suffered an ACL injury in August.

In a report from ESPN (and first reported by the Wall Street Journal), Marcano has been accused of betting on “games involving the Pittsburgh Pirates when he was with the team”. The ESPN report references MLB Rule 21, which states:

Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible.

Essentially, you can’t bet on games involving your team. Marcano, who has since returned to the Padres after being claimed off waivers in November, was allegedly betting on Pirates’ games when he was recovering from his knee injury.

On Tuesday, Marcano was found guilty of the charges levied against him. He was placed on the Permanently Ineligible list, meaning his Major League Baseball career is over. According to the report, he is the first active player to receive a MLB betting ban since New York Giants’ outfielder Jimmy O’Connell, way back in 1924.

The report also revealed one-year suspensions for four more players. Oakland Athletics’ pitcher Michael Kelly was suspended for betting while he was in the minor leagues. San Diego’s Jay Groome, Philadelphia’s Jose Rodriguez and Arizona’s Saalfrank, all minor-league players, join Kelly with one-year bans.

Marcano Latest Player Accused of Gambling, Joining MLB’s Ohtani and NBA’s Porter

Marcano is the latest player to have a gambling scandal. Los Angeles Dodgers’ star Shohei Ohtani was accused of betting with an illegal bookie. However, it was found that his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, was the one gambling via Ohtani’s bank account. According to CBS Sports, Mizuhara has pled guilty to both tax and bank fraud, and is facing up to 33 years in prison. Ohtani has been absolved of any wrongdoing thus far.

Jontay Porter, formerly of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors (and brother of Denver’s Michael Porter Jr.), received a lifetime ban from the league for gambling on Raptors’ games. Like Marcano, Porter’s gambling was discovered when the sportsbooks they used (in Porter’s case, DraftKings) alerted the league.

Given that leagues and sportsbooks are partnering up now, it’s going to be interesting to see how much more this happens. Ohtani (by no fault of his own) is the biggest name involved in a gambling scandal, but it seems like this will get even bigger in the future.

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About the Author
Elliot Nield profile picture
Elliot Nield
Casino/Sportsbook Writer
Elliot Nield has worked in the online gambling industry for almost two decades, and while his focus is on sports, he doesn't mind a few hours on the poker felts and the blackjack tables. In his spare time, Elliot can be found cheering on Manchester United and the Kansas City Chiefs, and praying that Patrick Mahomes stays healthy forever.

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