The Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC) announced in a press release its agents served a warrant at a property suspected of illegal horse racing operation.
Illegal Horse Racing and Gambling Confirmed
The warrant served on October 26 by WSGC Special Agents, deputies with Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office and US Department of Agriculture agents was the conclusion of a more than 2-year-long investigation on suspicion that a ranch near Burbank, Washington, was running illegal horse races.
Following a tip from another agency that illegal horse racing, as well as illegal gambling, was taking place at the property, the WSGC launched an investigation in January 2019.
The investigation found out that match races between horses had been organized on a monthly basis at the ranch, featuring horses from Washington, Oregon and some other western states, while the events were advertised via social media accounts.
On one hand, bets on the outcome of the races were placed both with the organizers and between individuals attending the illegal races, while raffles mostly offering small prizes were also held, on the other. In some cases, raffles were offering bid money prizes, including horses and cars, the investigation found out.
The WSGC managed to infiltrate the organization with an undercover Special Agent who attended events and gathered the information required for the warrant, which may also result in as many as six people facing felony charges.
The WSGC did not provide any names of individuals suspected of the illegal gambling and racing activities, or details about the ranch where illegal horse racing and illegal gambling took place due to the pending charging decision by the Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney.
A previously released report by the NW Horse Report media claimed the ranch that was served with the search warrant to be located at 495 Dusty Rd in Burbank, which is the registered address of two businesses owned by Lorenzo Marquez Campos – Criadero De Ligeros Racing Stables Training Facility, LLC and MA Remodeling & Finishing, LLC, while county records showed the property was purchased in 2015 by Marquez Campos.
The media then verified that two Facebook pages were linked to the founded in June 2021 Criadero De Ligeros Racing Stables business entity, with posts dating back to 2018 and the most recent one advertising the horse races on September 26. WSGC’s Public Information Officer Kevin McCarty neither confirmed nor denied if Marquez Campos or the Criadero de Ligeros business were subjects of the investigation, the media stated.
The Washington State officially allowed sports betting in September this year, following amendments to the gambling compacts of Spokane, Cowlitz, Tulalip, Puyallup, Lummi, Suquamish, Squaxin, Snoqualmie and Stillaguamish tribes being approved by the US Department of the Interior (DoI).