Bookie in Ohtani Translator Sports Betting Scandal Well-Known by Vegas Casinos

Sportsbooks/Bookmakers Crime
Edward Scimia

Updated by

Edward Scimia


Last Updated on 27th March 2024, 10:38 PM

Bookie in Ohtani Translator Sports Betting Scandal Well-Known by Vegas Casinos

Investigations reveal that Resorts World is one of the Las Vegas casinos possibly connected to Californian Mathew Bowyer’s illicit bookmaking operation that counted Shohei Ohtani’s translator Ippei Mizuhara (top right) as a customer. (Images: Barry King / Associated Press / Alamy)

Alleged bookmaker Mathew Bowyer, the man who is at the center of the sports betting scandal involving Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, has a long record of troublesome dealings with casinos in Las Vegas and around the United States, reports show.

Bowyer, who is the target of a federal investigation for running an illegal sports betting operation in California, is the man who received the bank transfers from Ohtani’s account that were apparently meant to pay off gambling debts for Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s former interpreter. 

Bowyer Incurred Debts at Las Vegas Casinos

According to reporting by The Washington Post, Bowyer filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and claimed at the time to have lost $425,000 gambling at Las Vegas casinos over the course of two years.

That wouldn’t be the last time he found himself battling major casinos in Las Vegas. During the bankruptcy, Bowyer considered legal action against both the Cosmopolitan and Aria. In the end, Aria sued Bowyer in the hopes of recovering $250,000 from an allegedly bounced check, though the lawsuit was dismissed. 

The Las Vegas Review-Journal quoted a source who has worked at multiple sportsbooks in Las Vegas who said that Bowyer was known to make large bets in the city. What’s less clear is how many people at Las Vegas casinos knew that Bowyer was also running his own bookmaking operation in California.

The Post article quotes Jennifer Belcastro, who has worked as a casino host for high rollers, as saying that Bowyer has been banned from multiple casinos in Las Vegas. According to Belcastro, investigators searched her property – including her phone – in connection to the case against Bowyer, likely because Belcastro had emailed the compliance office at Resorts World Las Vegas to get the casino to lift its ban on him. The casino briefly allowed Bowyer to bet again.

“I knew he bet sports,” Belcastro told the Post. “I didn’t know he was a bookie.”

Bowyer, Nix Cases Shine Light on KYC Practices

The connection between Bowyer and Resorts World comes at a time when the casino has already been tied to another illegal sports betting scandal.

Bookmaker Wayne Nix, a former minor league pitcher in the Oakland Athletics system, has been under investigation by the same team of federal investigators currently looking into Bowyer’s operation. Resorts World Las Vegas casino executive Scott Sibella previously allowed Nix to wager millions while Sibella was the president of MGM Grand, despite knowing that Nix was an illegal bookie. 

In January, Sibella pleaded guilty to a violation of the Bank Secrecy Act. More broadly, the Nix and Bowyer cases have raised questions over how well some casinos are implementing their “know your customer” (KYC) protocols, which are designed to prevent money laundering and fraud. MGM Grand and The Cosmopolitan have paid a combined $7.45 million in fines related to the Nix case, according to The Nevada Independent

“I take full responsibility for my actions and inactions, but I must make clear I took no action for my personal benefit or inurement,” Sibella said in a statement following his plea.

Bowyer’s casino excursions weren’t limited to Las Vegas. The Washington Post reported that in 2015, Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut extended him a $1.2 million credit line to gamble with. The casino tried to recover the money, suing in tribal court, but was still trying to collect the debt as of 2023. 

Diane Bass, an attorney for Bowyer, acknowledged that he was a bookmaker in an interview with the Washington Post. According to Bass, it was Mizuhara who made the bets with Bowyer, and that Bowyer was willing to extend credit to the interpreter because of his closeness with Ohtani. According to Mizuhara, he lost at least $4.5 million betting on sports, though Bass did not confirm that amount. 


Meet The Author

16 Years
Edward Scimia
Edward Scimia
Journalist Journalist

Ed Scimia is a freelance writer who has been covering the gaming industry since 2008. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2003 with degrees in Magazine Journalism and Political Science. In his time as a freelancer, Ed has worked for,, and, among other sites. He has also authored multiple books and enjoys curling competitively, which has led to him creating curling-related content for his YouTube channel "Chess on Ice."

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