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Gambling regulators: Sports events at Iowa and Iowa State not now under suspicion
Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation confirms it’s part of gambling probe
As investigators look into whether dozens of student athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University violated the law or collegiate rules by betting on sports, the state board that regulates gambling said Tuesday that the integrity of sporting events involving those two universities is not currently called into question.
The UI and ISU on Monday confirmed investigations into sports betting by dozens of student athletes across several sports, including both schools’ football and men’s wrestling teams, which would violate NCAA rules and subject them to discipline.
In a statement Tuesday, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, which administers the state’s gambling and betting laws, said it does not now possess any evidence to call into question the integrity those two schools’ sporting events.
“Specifically, as part of the IRGC’s responsibilities to regulate sports wagering, the IRGC is always examining wagering activity utilizing information available from integrity monitoring providers, sportsbooks, other regulatory jurisdictions, sports leagues, and the public,” the IRGC statement said. “The IRGC does not currently have any information that would call into question the integrity of any sports wagering contest or event involving the University of Iowa or Iowa State University.”
See Also: What we know and don’t know about Iowa, Iowa State’s sports betting investigations
The statement appears to indicate the commission has not seen evidence that any UI or ISU student athletes placed bets on games in which they competed.
However, the UI said Monday its investigation also includes potential criminal conduct, although it did not elaborate. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, which investigates and enforces those state laws, Tuesday confirmed its involvement in the “ongoing investigation.”
“At this time, no criminal charges have been filed and no further information will be released. The DCI will work cooperatively with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission concerning any potential regulatory violations,” the DCI statement said.
Iowa lawmakers voted to legalize sports betting in the state beginning in 2019, allowing state-licensed casinos to hire sportsbooks to run the operations and eventually let gamblers place bets over a computer app without going to a casino. The law states that sports wagers must be at least 21 and must place bets within the state. Iowans wagered nearly $2.5 billion on sports events in fiscal 2022.
It remains unclear how the allegations at the two public universities came to light on the same day. A UI athletics department spokesman did not comment on who notified the university of the “potential criminal conduct,” or what the alleged conduct entailed.
The UI said no current or former coaches are included in the investigation. An ISU spokesman declined to comment Tuesday on whether any current or former ISU coaches are part of the allegations.
The UI has sought outside legal counsel to “assist in the investigative process,” according to its statement Monday, although the athletics department did not comment Tuesday on who the outside legal counsel is.
An NCAA spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday on the investigations, citing the organization’s policy to “not comment on current, pending or potential investigations.”
Penalties for violations of the NCAA’s gambling policies can be severe. The organization does not allow athletes to bet on any sport — regardless of whether it’s at the college or professional level — that the NCAA sponsors. Athletes also cannot “share information for sports wagering purposes.”
Athletes who break the rules “will be ineligible for competition, subject to appeal to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement,” according to an NCAA document.
Some collegiate conferences, such as the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12, have hired the company U.S. Integrity Inc. to monitor for suspicious betting activity. The Big Ten, however, is "one of the few collegiate conferences which is not a client of U.S. Integrity," the company said in an email. A conference spokeswoman did not comment on whether the Big Ten has another vendor that monitors possible sports betting activity.
Many national experts have predicted other schools from across the country will run into similar situations as what the UI and ISU are facing. This marks the fifth anniversary since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 cleared the way for states to legalize sports wagering. Since then, Iowa and 32 other states have done so.
“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg,” Keith Whyte, the National Council on Problem Gambling, told the Associated Press Tuesday.
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