The Texas Racing Commission says as many as 50 illegal horse racetracks operate in the state, fueling concerns about illicit gambling, the safety of jockeys and horses, and unfair competition to registered racing venues.
Authorities recently have raided at least two tracks where betting occurred, at least partly fueled by drug money. The commission oversees the five registered tracks in the state, while the Texas Department of Public Safety is in charge of investigating illegal activity at tracks. Operating a racetrack in Texas does not require special permits, but to allow gambling a licensing fee must be paid that ranges from $70,000 to $500,000.
Authorities fear illegal tracks siphon customers from registered venues and that lack of oversight may be dangerous for jockeys and racehorses.
Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com
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