Gambling Commission agents break up illegal soccer betting ring in Wenatchee

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Gambling Commission has arrested four people for their roles in an illegal soccer betting ring operating in the greater Wenatchee area. Agents also seized property and cash believed to be proceeds from the betting operation.

Sports betting may be a hot topic right now, but regulated sports pools are currently the only legal form of sports betting in Washington State, said Director Dave Trujillo. This ring was a criminal organization and we will continue to protect the public by dismantling similar operations.

Over the past several years, the Washington State Gambling Commission has received numerous complaints of illegal soccer betting occurring at multiple businesses in the Wenatchee area. An investigation revealed that at least five businesses were accepting and/or facilitating bets on professional league soccer matches being played in Mexico. The ring was accepting approximately 200 to 700 bets each week. The ring leader typically kept 28% to 30% of the wagered money, which amounted to approximately $1,200 to $2,000 per week.

With assistance from multiple local police agencies, Gambling Commission agents served search warrants at five businesses and three residences in the Wenatchee area. They recovered evidence of illegal sports betting, including betting slips and ledgers. Agents seized two vehicles and $65,266 cash, and also froze $127,677 in bank account funds.

A 52-year-old male, a 43-year-old male, and a 49-year-old male were arrested and booked into jail on charges of professional gambling in the second degree, leading organized crime and criminal profiteering. A 53-year-old female was also arrested and booked for professional gambling in the second degree.

The search warrants were served with the assistance of law enforcement officers from the following agencies: Chelan County Sheriff's Office, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Quincy Police Department, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, Wenatchee Police Department and Yakima County LEAD Task Force.

The investigation is ongoing.