Criserio Ruiz was arrested yesterday when undercover agents raided an illegal horse track he was operating near Chilton, Texas. The raid was conducted under the authority of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and was the culmination of a 3-month investigation into the operation. Under
American gambling laws, hosting an illegal horse racing track and taking bets is a third degree felony.
The track has been in operation since late spring, and ran several events throughout the summer. It was large and extremely well organized. It had a seating capacity of 400 to 500 spectators, and a $10 entry fee paid for jockeys, horses, and upkeep of the venue, leaving considerable profits for Ruiz and the other operators.
Of course, this money pales in comparison to the illegal wagers that took place there. As many as eight races took place on any given day, and the average bet per race was $100 to $150. All money exchanged hands locally, leaving out the need to deal with booking fees and taxes.
The Department of Public Safety also requested the assistance of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission because alcoholic beverages were being served on the premises, despite the fact that Ruiz was not in possession of a liquor license. Agents were sent to the track to place bets and watch the races. These undercover operations have been going on since July.
Ruiz’s track was illegal simply because he was not licensed to own and operate the gambling establishment. With proper licenses, however, horse racing in the United States is fully legal. There are horse tracks in nearly every state, and players are allowed to gamble on the outcome of the races. Gambling is restricted to the immediate premises at the moment, because internet betting in the United States
is currently in a precarious position, as its fate is being argued by the nation’s government.