HomeIowa Sports Betting NewsUncategorizedIowa Athletes File Lawsuit Against State Following Sports Betting Probe

Iowa Athletes File Lawsuit Against State Following Sports Betting Probe

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, overturning the legality of sports betting back to each individual state to decide, sports betting has come to the United States and spread like wildfire.

Image: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The industry has been an undisputed success and grown rapidly in every territory that’s welcomed it in the U.S. so far. But, with as much momentum and positive sentiment that sports betting was riding in its early years in the country, the tide has started to turn in terms of public perception, with several scandals sprouting up across the nation. One of the more recent ones comes from Iowa.

Sports Betting Scandals Rock the United States

Recently, the world has seen an NBA player receive a lifetime ban for illegal sports betting and rigging games. The former Toronto Raptor Jontay Porter had his dreams ended when it was discovered that he was fixing his own stats in order to cash in on his player props for himself and his friends. Another major scandal came from the MLB, when Shohei Ohtani’s bank account was connected to gambling, although it turned out that he had no knowledge of how his money was being spent, as it was stolen by his former interpreter and confidant, Ippei Mizuhara. In Iowa, several college athletes were under investigation for illegal sports betting.

In all, 26 student-athletes were scrutinized in the illegal gambling probe: 16 from the University of Iowa, nine Iowa State Cyclones, and one community college player. The targets of this investigation included several high-profile college athletes, including former Iowa State Quarterback Hunter Dekkers and former Iowa Hawkeye Defensive Lineman Noah Shannon. In the end, 16 of them were charged with 12 pleading guilty to underage gambling. The case was ultimately dismissed in March 2024, however, due to illegal search and seizure including a warrantless search.

Sports Betting Probe Leads to Countersuit from Iowa Student-Athletes

This wasn’t the end of the story, however. In a turn of events, these current and former college athletes have filed a lawsuit against the parties behind the probe, alleging that the defendants infringed on their constitutional rights and caused them punitive damages. The defendants include state of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and five other individuals who were involved with the investigation.

Van Plumb, attorney for two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, had this to say:

“We’re looking forward to getting into the court system and having an impartial jury decide whether or not these kids’ rights were violated, because we wholeheartedly believe they were.”

Plumb and the legal representation for the other plaintiffs have filed a 47-page lawsuit that details that they’ll be seeking actual and compensatory damages, compensation for violation of their constitutional rights, compensation for emotional damages, and more punitive damages, including, of course, legal fees.

With the negative side effects that can come with sports betting, it’s important that the state remains vigilant and proactive in combatting gambling addiction and unethical activity in Iowa sports betting. However, the state must ensure that they don’t do so illegally, as well.