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Head of Gaming Commission Says No Evidence That Iowa, Iowa State Games Were Compromised

Head of Gaming Commission Says No Evidence That Iowa, Iowa State Games Were Compromised article feature image

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The head of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission said in an interview with the Action Network on Monday night that there’s zero evidence of suspicious wagering activity or match fixing involving any Iowa or Iowa State sporting event.

The comment comes after at least 41 current student-athletes across the two universities were reported for potentially illicit betting activity.

“We review the types of wagers that come in and how suspicious they are,” said Brian Ohorilko, the director for the state gaming commission. “We have no reason to believe that there’s anything like that here.”

Based on this information, no betting markets on Iowa or Iowa State athletics are scheduled to be banned or halted.

“There wasn’t anything giving us pause or leading us to believe that any of these markets were compromised,” Ohorilko told the Action Network.

Earlier on Monday, the University of Iowa said it received reports that 111 individuals — including 26 current student-athletes from the school’s baseball, football, men’s basketball, men’s track and field and wrestling teams — may have been involved in illicit sports betting.

That same day, Iowa State said at least 15 student-athletes from the university’s football, wrestling and track and field teams may have been embroiled in illicit gambling activity.

NCAA rules ban collegiate athletes from wagering on almost every sport. Any sport that the NCAA operates — from football all the way down to fencing — its athletes can’t bet on. That’s wagers in any country, at any skill level. For instance, a field hockey player can’t bet on the NFL, even if they aren’t privy to any insider information or otherwise.

These rules also encompass other forms of “sports betting.” For instance, NCAA athletes can’t join fantasy football leagues or March Madness brackets that involve money.

Ohorilko said he wasn’t aware of any wagers — if at all — these Iowa and Iowa State athletes or staff may have placed. What he does know, though, is that the state’s auditors combed through wagering data across the Iowa and Iowa State marketplace and found zero evidence of malfeasance.

“Suspicious wagering activity” can encompass a variety of scenarios, but notably, it involves utilizing insider information to pump large amounts of money into an ordinarily illiquid market. It can also, for example, involve a player, staff member or coach — or their close friends, family members, etc. — who places a wager on any sporting event they’re associated with.

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These cases come mere days after Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired for his connection to suspicious wagering activity in Ohio involving the Crimson Tide baseball team.

A bettor in Ohio — who was on the phone with Bohannon when the decision to scratch Alabama’s best starting pitcher was made — placed two large wagers on LSU, the opposing team. The wagers were made at the BetMGM Sportsbook at the Cincinnati Reds’ home ballpark and were captured by surveillance footage. The game was slated to begin just hours later.

The Tide replaced their starter, Luke Holman, with a reliever who hadn’t started a game in over a month.

Alabama lost 8-6 and an independent organization filed a report to state gaming commissions across the country indicating potential malfeasance.

To date, four states and over a dozen sportsbooks have halted all wagering on Alabama baseball. Investigations by the state of Ohio, sportsbooks and other independent bodies are ongoing.

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