Indiana Man Who Allegedly Took $17M In Sports Bets To Stand Trial Next Month

A businessman behind an alleged underground sports betting operation that lasted from 2016 to 2019 is set for trial in December.
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The man behind an alleged illegal sports betting operation in the state of Indiana is scheduled to go to trial next month, according to court records.

Bret A. Wells, of New Palestine, Ind., was charged about a year ago — shortly before the state’s casinos opened legalized sportsbooks — with a handful of felonies related to alleged illegal bookmaking. His alleged underground bookmaking operation took more than 176,000 in wagers totaling about $17.1 million between early 2016 and mid-2019. He allegedly generated about $1.8 million in profit.

For some context, Indiana’s legal sportsbooks took more than $230 million in wagers last month alone.

His jury trial has been delayed multiple times, court records show, with the latest rescheduling set for Dec. 15. Wells has been out on $2,500 cash bond since September 2019, court records show.

One of his alleged seven sports betting agents was Joe Hillman, a member of the 1987 Indiana University basketball team that won the NCAA Tournament. Wells allegedly utilized two websites for bookmaking: lockandloadsports.com and bigdogsportswagering.com.

Hillman has not been charged with a crime.

Some of the wagering was on local high school football games, authorities alleged.

Jenny Reske, deputy director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, told the Greenfield Daily Reporter that Wells’ alleged operation was the “largest bookmaking bust the [IGC] has conducted on its own.”

In a related civil matter, Wells agreed to forfeit about $30,000, with approximately $21,000 of that sum going to the Indiana Gaming Commission. He still denies any wrongdoing in the criminal case. Per court documents, a 2016 Ford F-350 that was seized from Wells around the time of his arrest was returned to him.

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