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January 1, NFL Player Suspended, Facing Criminal Investigations Over Betting on Own Team



Denver Broncos defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike finds himself facing a double onslaught: suspension from the National Football League (NFL) for violation of its betting policy, and criminal investigations in Iowa and Colorado for allegedly betting on his own team.

The controversies may position Uwazurike as the latest face of a long-standing issue in sports – athletes gambling on their own games, a move that’s been at the core of major sporting scandals in the past.

This practice remains forbidden, despite the increase in legal sports betting across the US. This presents a complex issue for leagues that once shunned gambling but now see potential revenue streams.

The dual investigations involve both Uwazurike’s home state, Iowa, and Colorado, where the Broncos are based.

In Iowa, Uwazurike and three other current and former Iowa State University (ISU) athletes, including Cyclones’ starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers, have been charged with tampering with records, an aggravated misdemeanor, during an investigation into sports gambling among Iowa and Iowa State athletes.

The charge alleges that the players manipulated online gambling transactions to conceal their involvement.

Iowa prosecutors assert that Uwazurike placed around 32 bets on Broncos games and individual players, including a game in which he participated.

Simultaneously, Colorado is launching an investigation into Uwazurike’s betting activities. The 25-year-old has been suspended by the NFL for a term no less than one season.

The Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees sports betting in the state, has referred a case on Uwazurike to the state’s 18th judicial district, which will determine if charges are warranted. It’s illegal in Colorado for someone to bet on a sport in which they’re a participant.

The investigations highlight the NFL’s predicament as it tries to balance its new relationship with the gambling industry, regulating its personnel’s engagement with betting while maintaining the integrity of its games.

Since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to legalize sports gambling, the practice has become more prevalent and accessible. Nonetheless, sports leagues and university athletic departments maintain strict rules about wagering for athletes.

The criminal complaint states that Dekkers placed around 297 bets, 26 of which were on Iowa State events, while underage. His wagers totaled over $2,799.

The Des Moines Register reported that NCAA guidelines stipulate any athlete caught betting on their own school’s games could face a lifetime ban from college athletics.

Bottom Line

With the NFL having once viewed the proliferation of legal sports betting as a threat to the legitimacy of their product, they now face the challenge of maintaining game integrity while engaging with the betting industry.

Uwazurike’s case is reminiscent of infamous scandals involving MLB’s Pete Rose and NFL’s Paul Hornung, both suspended for betting on their own teams.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.




  1. Nate

    August 7, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    Didn’t they try this with Pete Rose?

  2. Janet

    August 7, 2023 at 9:20 pm

    Paul Horning was suspended for doing this, back in the 60’s.

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