State releases more on horse-racing bust

By on Monday, November 22nd, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

BURBANK – As many as six people could face felony charges in connection with an alleged illegal horse operation at a ranch near Burbank, according to newly released information from the Washington State Gambling Commission. The agency said the names of the suspects and the ranch where the races were held are not being made public pending a charging decision by Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle.

Following an investigation that lasted more than two years, agents from the Washington State Gambling Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and deputies from the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office served a warrant on the suspected illegal horse racing operation on Oct. 26.

The WSGC’s investigation began in early January 2019 after a tip from another agency that illegal horse racing and other illegal gambling was taking place at the location. Agents developed information that backed up those reports.

Organizers would hold monthly match races between horses. Most were from Washington and Oregon with some coming from other Western states. The races were often advertised on social media accounts.

Bets were placed both with the organization and among individuals attending the races. Raffles were also held with most offering small-scale prizes. Some raffles did feature big dollar winnings and often included awarding horses and cars to winners. An undercover special agent with the WSGC was able to attend events and gather information for the warrant that was served on site in October.

Photo from Washington State Gambling Commission