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said Monday it will step up measures to control illegal overseas Web sites targeted at JRA-sponsored horse races.

According to the JRA, there are at least seven overseas bookies and some 20,000 Japanese are using them via the Internet, with total “revenues” estimated at more than 10 billion yen yearly. The semigovernmental JRA will strengthen its investigations into the illegal bookmaking by asking the National Police Agency and other authorities to check on such “betting.”

It has already asked credit card companies to freeze settlements involving use of such Internet sites, planning to report the case to the Paris-based International Federation Horse Racing Authority at the latter’s annual meeting.

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