February 1, 2024 3 min read


Iowa Agency Defends Athletes Sports Betting Probe

The agency that oversees gambling in the state released statement outlining that the evidence in the sports betting investigation against Iowa State and Iowa athletes was obtained in a legally acceptable way

The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), the largest law enforcement agency that oversees a number of activities, including a subdivision that is in charge of gambling, issued a statement, joining the fueling debate regarding a sports betting scandal that involved Iowa State and Iowa athletes. The DPS confirmed that it usually doesn’t discuss such topics publicly, leaving the matter in the hands of the state’s justice system.

Yet, the agency said that the evidence against the athletes, some of whom faced criminal charges, was obtained “in a constitutionally permissible manner.” The DPS oversees the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), a subdivision that probed betting activities by athletes last year.

This investigation alleged that a dozen athletes were involved in gambling activities, including underage gambling, using other people’s identities to gamble and wagering on their own team. Subsequently, some athletes pleaded guilty, facing suspensions, criminal charges and fines.

In its statement, the DPS highlighted the exponential growth of the sports betting sector across Iowa since the legalization of the activity. It added that legalized sports wagering in the state saw $2.4 billion in bets for 2023. “The evolution of gaming has given rise to emerging technologies that help regulate the industry and enforce the law,” wrote the DPS.

The agency pointed to laws in the state that required the sports betting operators to enforce location detection in order to monitor the location of players who place wagers. Additionally, it spoke about an existing law that requires sports betting licensees to enforce a prohibition of wagering applicable for “coaches, athletic trainers, officials, players, or other individuals who participate in an authorized sporting event that is the subject of sports wagering.”

The Recent Statement Follows Claims for Warrantless Investigation

The announcement of the DPS follows a motion filed by Iowa State players’ attorneys who claimed the DCI engaged in a warrantless investigation. The motion, filed by attorneys defending Isaiah Lee, Jirehl Brock and Paniro Johnson alleged that the investigation into the athletes’ betting activities was launched without reasonable cause.

Van Plumb, an attorney representing Lee, described in his complaint that DCI agents acted without receiving any tips or complaints regarding sports wagering activities. “Without reasonable cause the team of Special Agents targeted more facilities as well as began requesting subpoenas to obtain account information on hundreds of private citizens private information which was also without reasonable cause,” he wrote in a motion filed last week.

This is in contrast to the statement by the DPS, which claimed that the evidence in the betting probe was obtained “in a constitutionally permissible manner.” The agency even confirmed that prior to pressing charges, it engaged in consultation regarding the investigation with two county attorney offices.


William Velichkov is a research-driven writer. His strengths lie in ensuring factual accuracy, vetting government documentation and reaching out to regulators and other officials. He is particularly fond of financial reporting, the sports betting industry, B2B partnerships and esports betting developments. William is a strong asset to the GamblingNews team as he adds a bedrock to our reporting.

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