Undercover agents bust Burbank’s illegal horse betting operation
BURBANK, Wash. — Several people in Walla Walla County may land behind bars for their roles in an illegal horse racing and betting ring that was infiltrated by an undercover Special Agent as part of a two-year investigation.
According to the Washington State Gambling Commission, as many as six people could face felony charges in connection with the illegal venture. Their names are being withheld while the Walla Walla Prosecuting Attorney allocates and submits charges.
An investigation into the Burbank ranch was launched in January 2019 after the Gambling Commission was tipped off by another agency. They learned that organizers held monthly match races which were often advertised through social media.
Bettors from Washington, Oregon, and other Western states gathered to participate in the unauthorized gambling operation. Some bets were placed through the organization itself while others were facilitated privately between patrons.
The Gambling Commission says that patrons also participated in illegal raffles—most of which offered small-scale prizes. However, the most extensive raffles awarded horses and cars to winners in addition to what they described as”big dollar winnings.”
A Special Agent attended these events in-person to gather information and build a case against the operation.
Their efforts culminated on Tuesday, October 26 when the Gambling Commission’s Special Agents served a warrant at the Burbank-area ranch. They were joined by Walla Walla Sheriff’s deputies and agents from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
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