Padres’ Marcano gets a lifetime ban from the MLB

Major League Baseball Tuesday (June 4) became the latest U.S. professional sports league to ban players for violating gambling rules in the post-PASPA era. San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano was banned for life after it was revealed he had bet on his own team.

Four other players, including Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly, were suspended for up to a year, according to MLB.com. Before Tuesday, every other major professional sports league had at least one player banned. Marcano becomes the second player in an American professional league to receive a lifetime ban this year. On April 17, the NBA banned Jontay Porter for life after it was discovered that he had bet on the NBA and shared personal health information with another gambler.

Last year, the NFL suspended 10 players for up to one year for various violations of the league’s gambling rules. They have all since recovered. The NHL suspended Shane Pinto last October for violating league rules. Additionally, the PGA Tour suspended two players last October for violating the Tour’s gambling policy.

Under MLB’s Rule 21, league employees receive a lifetime ban for betting on their own team. Betting on other teams will result in a one-year suspension.

In most, if not all, cases, the violations were discovered by legal operators the players were gambling with. In Porter’s case, DraftKings reported suspicious gambling activity to the NBA, which then opened an investigation. In the baseball cases, an unnamed legal operator reported suspicious activity to MLB in March, according to MLB.com. The Wall Street Journal broke the story on Monday (June 3) that MLB was investigating five players. The sentences were announced a day later.

MLB’s investigation included contact with more than one legal sportsbook, including betting “authentication information.” None of the players will appeal the suspensions.

The Padres’ Marcano, who hasn’t played in an MLB game since July 2023, was with the Pittsburgh Pirates when he gambled. Betting is legal in Pennsylvania and in Indiana, where he played some games for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians affiliate.

Sportsbook records show Marcano has made 387 baseball bets, including 231 on MLB games. Twenty-five bets were on Pirates games while he was still on the roster. Marcano did not play in any of the games he bet on. Marcano’s bets were mostly parlays, and he wagered more than $150,000 on baseball.

Player A has bet less than $100

Records also showed that between October 5 and October 17, 2021, Kelly placed 10 bets totaling $99.22 while with the Houston Astros. Kelly had a net profit of $28.30 and did not gamble on the games he played in or on any Astros games.

The Padres and A’s released statements saying they were “disappointed” that players on their roster violated league rules. The teams were clear that the violations occurred before the players joined their respective teams. Both teams said they support MLB’s gambling policies and penalties.

“Major League Baseball’s strict enforcement of rules and policies regarding gambling conduct is a critical part of upholding our most important priority: protecting the integrity of our games for fans,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement. “The longstanding ban on gambling on Major League Baseball games by athletes has been a fundamental principle for more than a century. We have made it clear that the privilege of playing baseball comes with the responsibility to refrain from certain types of behavior that are legal for other people.