Illegal lottery bust

Patrons who have enjoyed placing bets at Nice Cut Barber and Tax in Indianapolis will now have to revert to a more conventional service after undercover agents discovered the shop doubled as an illegal gambling den.

faces five charges including professional gambling

As a result of the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC)’s operation, Nice Cut barber and gambling organizer, Kesny Mathieu (a.k.a. Wilner Andre), faces five charges including professional gambling and corrupt business influence.

A single IGC agent initially infiltrated the illegal barber shop operation on West 38th Street in September 2022.

Cut, beer, bet

After a haircut on their first visit to Nice Cut, the undercover IGC agent asked if there was a borlette in which to buy lottery tickets. According to court documents, Mathieu, 35, directed the officer to the borlette office at the back of the barber’s shop. While in the office, WRTV reported Wednesday, a male bookmaker sold the agent beer and a lottery ticket “reflecting the numbers the officer provided.”

slot machines on the premises

Court documents list three additional times that plainclothes agents returned to Nice Cut and placed bets in the borlette office, with the initial agent also noting slot machines on the premises.  

With enough evidence to land a search warrant, multiple IGC officers raided the barber shop in June. The operation netted over $22,000 worth of borlette ticket sales and almost $2,000 from the slots, court documents revealed.

Strict gambling laws

According to the IGCs’ “Illegal Gambling FAQs” the only legal gaming allowed in Indiana is via the state lottery, plus “riverboat casinos, para-mutual wagering on horse races, charity gaming, gambling games at racetracks, and Type II gaming.”

Indiana failed to get online casinos approved as expected in 2023, despite the inclusion of the Hoosier Lottery’s online games in the bill. Despite this, Indiana was one of first states to legalize sports betting in 2019. By 2022, it became the sixth state to hit the $10bn mark for lifetime sports betting handle.

As for the illegal lottery-ticket-buying patrons of Nice Cut and the barber Mathieu — who is due for his first court appearance Thursday — the game, it appears, is finally up.