Broncos’ Eyioma Uwazurike Hit With Criminal Charges for Sports Betting

NFL News


  • Uwazurike placed 32 bets worth $21,300, according to reports
  • Uwazurike bet on games he played in during college and in the NFL
  • Colorado law forbids athletes from betting on sports they participate in

Denver Broncos Defensive End Eyioma Uwazurike was already suspended from the NFL—now, he’s facing criminal charges in the states of Iowa and Colorado. 

Uwazurike, 25, was found guilty of violating the league’s sports betting policy and was subsequently suspended in another sweep of players. He was also traced to participating in sports betting at Iowa State University in a separate investigation.

Uwazurike is one of many professional and collegiate athletes that have been unearthed as sports bettors recently, but the criminal aspect adds a much greater weight to his case.

Gambling suspensions

Although Uwazurike’s salary nets him an average of over $1.1 million annually, and Colorado is home to legal sports betting, the NFL strictly prohibits all active players and personnel from utilizing the service of legal sportsbooks.

Uwazurike is charged with placing 32 bets worth $21,300 on players and game results, including a Week 15 clash with the Arizona Cardinals which was one of seven games that he showed up in the box score.

The Story County Attorney's Office also found that he placed numerous bets during his time as a member of the Cyclones, including 2021 rivalry matchups with the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas. 

Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers, who started all 12 games for the team last year, was also charged alongside Uwazurike for tampering with records during the NCAA’s investigation into the players’ sports betting history. Johnson County prosecutors also charged a football player, a men’s basketball, and a former baseball player.

While Dekkers and others still in college could lose their NCAA eligibility, Uwazurike has to grapple with a Colorado law that explicitly states that betting on games in a sport a player participates in is illegal. His current suspension from the NFL is considered “indefinite.”

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for placing a series of bets on NFL games, including several on his then-employer, the Atlanta Falcons, while away from the team in 2021. He was allowed to apply for reinstatement a year after his suspension and was welcomed back into the league and will appear with the Jacksonville Jaguars on opening weekend.

NFL, NCAA dealing with sports betting’s influence

Uwazurike is one of many players that have fallen victim to the NFL’s sports betting crackdown. Earlier this offseason, Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams headlined a group of five players that were suspended for different violations.

Shortly after, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr. and a few others were found guilty of violating the league’s betting policy. Uwazurike’s suspension adds to a growing list that has seen over 10 players suspended for gambling infractions.

The NFL and NCAA have responded to the growing concern of sports betting crimes in different manners. The NFL sent representatives to team facilities to emphasize the importance of the rules and clear up any gray areas. It also enlisted the help of retired quarterback and seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady to share a video message on the dangers of sports betting and the punishments that will follow.

The NFL’s gambling policy can be broken down into the following six pillars:

  • Don’t bet on NFL games
  • Don’t share sensitive information with outsiders
  • Don’t enter sportsbooks during the NFL season
  • Don’t gamble at the team facility or during team trips
  • Don’t have someone bet for you
  • Don’t play Daily Fantasy Football

The NCAA, meanwhile, adjusted the punishments for those that break its sports betting guidelines. Players may still lose their eligibility depending on the severity of the crime (meaning the amount of money wagered) but face lesser maximum punishments for different thresholds of betting participation.

Uwazurike was a fourth-round pick of the Broncos in 2022. He finished his rookie year with 17 total tackles, a pass deflection, and a blocked kick.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.