Lionsgate Developing TV Series on Shohei Ohtani Interpreter Gambling Scandal

Lionsgate Television May 9 announced it is developing a scripted series based on this year’s gambling scandal surrounding the interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani. Thirteen-time Tony Award winner and television producer Scott Delman, and award-winning writer, author and producer Albert Chen are attached to produce.

Shohei Ohtani (LA Dodgers media picture)

The series will follow Ohtani’s meteoric rise and carefully guarded persona surrounding a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers — the biggest contract in American team sports history. Just months later and only a day into the 2024 MLB season in March, news broke that Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, stole $16 million from the baseball player to pay off gambling debts that totaled $40 million.

The Dodgers fired Mizuhara following the allegations and he later turned himself in to federal authorities.

On May 7, Mizuhara pleaded guilty to two felony charges of bank fraud and filing a false tax return, and was ordered to pay nearly $17 million in restitution to Ohtani. The pleas help Mizuhara avoid up to 33 years in jail had the case gone to trial. He now faces seven-to-nine years in federal prison when sentenced on May 14.

“The extent of this defendant’s deception and theft is massive,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statemente. “He took advantage of his position of trust to take advantage of Ohtani and fuel a dangerous gambling habit.”

Chen says the series revolves around major league baseball’s biggest sports gambling scandal since Pete Rose — and at its center is its biggest star, one that MLB has hitched its wagon on.

“We’ll get to the heart of the story — a story of trust, betrayal and the trappings of wealth and fame,” Chen said in a statement.

Delman’s past television credits include TV series “Station 11.” He has also earned six Olivier Awards and served as a producer on several major Broadway hits, including The Book of MormonDeath of a Salesman, All the Way, Raisin in the Sun, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Ferryman, among others.

Chen wrote the sports gambling book Billion Dollar Fantasy. He was the co-creator, co-host and producer of the Webby Award-winning podcast All American from Stitcher and SiriusXM. Chen served as senior editor at Sports Illustrated, where he covered baseball and wrote more than a dozen cover stories for the magazine, and he has been a contributor at MLB Network.

This announcement comes as Lionsgate Television has several high-profile projects in development, including the first English-language series adaptation of Park Chan-wook’s acclaimed film Oldboy.

Executive Max Elins is overseeing the project for Lionsgate Television, and Bryan Weiser negotiated the deal.

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Fubo TV Launches Second National Sportsbook in Arizona

With the legal and ethical lines between live sports and gambling obliterated, media companies are scrambling to rollout new businesses for sports-themed wagering on streaming platforms.

One such company is FuboTV, the online television platform, which just launched its second national sportsbook in Arizona. Sports enthusiasts 21 years of age and older in the state can now place wagers on live professional and collegiate sporting events, including the upcoming bowl games and professional football championship game, using the mobile app or on the Fubo Sportsbook website.

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The launch in Arizona, in partnership with the Ak-Chin Indian Community, expands Fubo’s gambling presence following last month’s launch in Iowa. The Fubo Sportsbook aims to be more than just a gambling platform. By integrating with FuboTV, the mobile sportsbook app offers myriad experiences, including Watching Now, which leverages first-party user data into betting recommendations based upon what they are streaming.

Fubo said it plans to update the app, launching additional features that it claims will further integrate wagering onto the platform, to create a more immersive and personalized experience.

“We are honored to partner with our first Native American tribe, the Ak-Chin Indian Community,” Scott Butera, president of Fubo Gaming, said in a statement. “In less than a year of establishing Fubo Gaming, we brought our sports betting platform to passionate sports communities across two states and look forward to continuing introducing our unique product to many more consumers.”

Fubo has also obtained market access agreements in four other states, including Pennsylvania via The Cordish Companies, Indiana and New Jersey via Caesars Entertainment, and Iowa via Casino Queen. Fubo Gaming expects to announce the launch of Fubo Sportsbook in additional markets, subject to requisite regulatory approvals.

Fubo earlier this year announced gambling partnerships with NASCAR, and the New York Jets (NFL) and, as an “authorized gaming operator” with the NBA, including a multiyear agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers.