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Indiana casinos bar bettor after college baseball wager

by David Purdum, ESPN

An Indiana man at the center of investigations into suspicious bets on an Alabama baseball game this spring has been banned from the state’s casinos and sportsbooks, a gaming commission official confirmed to ESPN on Friday.

The Indiana Gaming Commission added Bert Neff of Mooresville to its involuntary exclusion list, which permanently bars him from entering any casino or placing bets with a sportsbook in the state.

Jenny Reske, deputy director at the Indiana Gaming Commission, told ESPN that Neff was added to the exclusion list after a review of his alleged actions on April 28. Neff allegedly entered the sportsbook at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati and asked to make a conspicuously large bet on LSU to beat Alabama in an SEC baseball game that night in Baton Rouge, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the matter.

The size of the bet requested on a regular-season college baseball game — upwards of $100,000, according to media reports — caused employees at the sportsbook to become suspicious, and video surveillance subsequently revealed that Neff was communicating with then-Alabama head baseball coach Brad Bohannon, ESPN previously reported.

Neff’s attorney Jeff Baldwin told ESPN on Thursday that he and his client dispute the reports that Neff attempted to place a large straight bet on LSU.

“There was only one bet involving LSU, and it was a parlay,” Baldwin said.

Reske said Neff’s presence in casinos or participation in online sports betting would adversely affect or call into question the integrity of gambling operations. Neff was informed of the decision in a letter dated Sept. 12 and can appeal, Reske said.

Neff is a subject in ongoing investigations in Indiana as well as by the NCAA and gaming regulators in Ohio, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the matter. The Indiana Gaming Commission has also been investigating additional bets on LSU in the game in question that were placed with the state’s sportsbooks.

Baldwin said he didn’t believe Neff had been contacted by investigators for the NCAA or state gaming regulators.

In May, two Cincinnati baseball staff members were dismissed following an investigation into possible NCAA violations, and, according to multiple sources, linked to Neff, whose son Andrew was a pitcher for the Bearcats. Andrew Neff has since entered the transfer portal. Head baseball coach Scott Googins resigned May 31, two weeks after his staff members were fired.

“We don’t believe that Bert Neff had anything to do with the firings of the Cincinnati coaches,” Baldwin told ESPN, adding Neff knew the two staff members but “didn’t have any gambling interactions with them.”

University of Cincinnati associate athletic director Zach Stipe told ESPN in a statement that the athletics department does not comment on specific personnel decisions.

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