Online horse racing betting is the oldest form of legal online gambling in the US. Off-track betting (OTB) parlors, the original form of remote horse race betting, originated in Nevada. Now, bettors across the US have access to horse betting without leaving home to visit a race track or an OTB thanks to online horse racing betting sites.
The best online horse racing betting sites offer a range of bonus offers, including rebates and deposit-match promotions for new members. And over 30 states, plus Washington D.C., allow online horse betting. So even if you are in a state that does not have other forms of sports betting, you may well have access to online horse race betting apps.
If so, you definitely want to check out TVG, the premier horse race betting platform.
Best Horse Betting Bonus in December 2023
FanDuel RacingClick to Claim
FanDuel already offered sports betting, DFS, and online casinos in states where those options are legal. So it was a natural fit for FanDuel to launch racing. But it’s also our pick for the best horse betting app in the US, with a clean and simple app with tons of positive ratings on the App Store. Find races across the country and around the world, as well as valuable promotions around the biggest races like Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby. See our full FanDuel Racing review to learn more.
States Available: AR, CA, CO, DE, FL, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NM, NY, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, VA, WV & WY
Horse Racing Betting by States
Pennsylvania horse racing betting is available both online and in-person for bettors aged 18 or older. There are six race tracks in the state, and the industry is overseen by the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission. We recommend playing on TVG in The Keystone State, but other options exist as well.
Tennessee horse racing betting is available online-only as there are no racetracks in the state. Like Pennsylvania, we also recommend TVG for bettors within the state. Unlike many other states in the country, Tennesee’s legal framework for horse racing betting is not fully fleshed out or made completely clear, but it is still available for bettors aged 18 or older.
New Jersey horse racing betting is a solid industry, allowing bettors aged 18 or older to place bets both online and in-person at one of the state’s three racetracks. Bettors can utilize 4NJBets for advance-deposit wagering or MonmouthBets for fixed-odds horse racing betting. 4NJBets is powered by TVG, a trusted provider of horse racing betting.
New York horse racing betting is available both online and in-person at their nine racetracks. These racetracks include the iconic Belmont Park, located on Long Island. We recommend Empire State players utilize TVG for the best horse racing betting experience, although there are other options available in the state as well.
Texas horse racing betting is only available in-person at one of the states racetracks. There is currently no online horse racing betting permitted in the state, but bettors can also wager on simulcast races held elsewhere when they visit the racetracks in the state.
California horse racing betting is the only form of online gambling currently permitted in the state. Horse racing betting is legal both online and in-person at the state’s four racetracks. As with most other legal horse racing betting states, we recommend TVG for bettors to have the best experience.
Colorado horse racing betting is legal online and in-person for bettors aged 18 or older. Colorado is the only other state other than New Jersey to offer fixed-odds betting on horse races, giving bettors in the state a great option for their wagers. Despite Colorado only having one in-person racetrack, options are plentiful for those looking to get into horse racing betting.
What Types Of Bets Are Available On Online Horse Racing Betting Sites In The US?
Pari-mutuel betting puts all of the money wagered by bettors on a race into a single payout pool. The money from the pool is then divided among winners, minus the vigorish, or “juice,” taken by the venue that offers the bet. This is in contrast to how, for example, New York sportsbooks pay out, which is based on the odds of the wager and the size of the bet, not how many others placed the bet as well.
This kind of wagering pits bettors against each other, compared to traditional fixed-odds bets where bettor wager against the house. Pari-mutuel betting is by far the most common wagering style in horse racing.
Single Horse Bets
Single horse bets involve wagering on one particular horse to finish in a certain place in a race.
These wagers allow for bets on whether a horse will finish first (win), first or second (place), or anywhere in the top three (show). Odds on a single horse bet are always higher for “win” bets.
Multiple Horse Bets
Multiple horse bets attempt to predict where two or more horses finish in a given race.
Bets in this category include:
- Quinella – Two horses must finish first and second, in any order, for the bet to win.
- Exacta – Two horses must finish first and second, in that order.
- Trifecta – A trifecta bet wins if the bettor predicts the top three finishing horses and the exact order in which they finish.
- Superfecta – A superfecta bet wins if the bettor predicts the top four finishing horses and the exact order in which they finish.
Multiple Race Bets
For a multiple race bet to win, a chosen horse must win two or more consecutive races. These bets include Daily Double (two wins in a row), Pick 3 (three consecutive wins), and so on.
What Types Of Bonuses Are Available When Betting On Horse Races Online?
Second Chance Bet
Second-chance bet bonuses offer a rebate on the first bet made at a mobile horse race betting platform. This kind of bonus is also commonly offered at online real money casinos and sportsbooks.
Second-chance bets guarantee a refund in bonus money on an individual wager, but only if that bet results in a loss.
The refund amount matches the total of the original wager, up to a certain cap. For example, let’s say the cap at an operator is $200. A $100 bet that loses would result in a $100 bonus refund. A $500 bet would be eligible for the maximum refund amount of $200 in bonus money.
Deposit Match Bonus
Deposit match offers award bonus money that matches a certain percentage of the first deposit on a mobile wagering platform. This kind of bonus is widely offered across multiple online gambling sites.
However, platforms have their own sets of terms and conditions. So be sure to read the T&Cs before taking advantage.
Top 5 Horse Racing Tracks In The US
1. Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs annually hosts the Kentucky Derby, horse racing’s biggest event. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the facility opened in 1875.
The Kentucky Derby also started running at the track in 1875. While the Kentucky Derby is the most famous event held at Churchill Downs, the legendary racetrack also hosts numerous events throughout the year.
Churchill Downs held 33 different graded stakes races (events recognized by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association) in 2019. In addition to the Kentucky Derby, the racetrack also hosts major events like the Kentucky Oaks and Churchill Downs Stakes.
2. Saratoga Race Course
One of the oldest and most revered racetracks in the US, Saratoga Race Course opened in 1863 in Saratoga, New York. Nicknamed “The House of Upsets” and “The Graveyard of Champions,” the venue plays host to some of the biggest upsets in horse racing history.
Man O’ War, considered one of horse racing’s all-time greatest thoroughbreds, suffered his only career loss at Saratoga Race Course in 1919.
Saratoga Race Course hosts 38 graded stakes events annually. The Travers Stakes, the oldest major thoroughbred race in the US, runs at the venue each summer.
3. Santa Anita Park
Located just outside Los Angeles, California, Santa Anita Park is unparalleled in the number of major races it hosts annually. No less than 80 graded stakes races take place each year at the venerable track.
The Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Handicap run annually as two of the most prestigious events at the venue. The Breeders Cup, one of horse racing’s biggest series, has run at Santa Anita Park ten times.
4. Belmont Park
Belmont Park annually hosts the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown. The Triple Crown marks the ultimate achievement in US horse racing. The Belmont Stakes is considered to be the toughest of the three races that comprise the Triple Crown.
The 1 ½ mile track at Belmont Park is one of the longest in US horse racing. Located just outside New York City, Belmont Park opened in 1905.
The Belmont Stakes is one of more than 50 graded stakes races that run annually at Belmont Park.
5. Del Mar Racetrack
Del Mar Racetrack lies right along the beach in San Diego County, California. The picturesque racetrack opened in 1936, with Bing Crosby as one of the venue’s founders.
The Bing Crosby Stakes runs annually at Del Mar Racetrack as one of the most prestigious events on the calendar. Del Mar racetrack hosts nearly 30 graded stakes races throughout the year.
Del Mar Racetrack hosted the Breeders Cup for the first time in 2017.
What Are The Most Popular Horse Racing Events Of The Year?
Popular Horse Racing Events In The US
The three races that comprise the Triple Crown are the most popular horse racing events in the US. Legal mobile horse race wagering apps allow bettors in more than 30 states the opportunity to legally bet on the Triple Crown races.
The Kentucky Derby stands atop the list of the most famous and prestigious horse races in the US. Nicknamed “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” the Kentucky Derby forms the first leg of the American Triple Crown.
Since 1875, the Kentucky Derby has run every year at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The race traditionally takes place on the first Saturday in May and is the highest-attended horse race in the US.
The second stage of the Triple Crown commences at the annual Preakness Stakes. The race generally takes place two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, on the third Saturday in May.
Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, annually hosts The Preakness Stakes.
Considered the toughest race of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes usually runs in June, three weeks after the Preakness Stakes.
The Belmont Stakes is hosted annually at Belmont Park in New York.
Popular International Horse Racing Events
US bettors aren’t just limited to domestic events on legal mobile horse race betting apps. Many prestigious events from around the world are at the fingertips of US bettors.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Held each October in Paris, France, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is considered one of Europe’s most prestigious horse races. Longchamp Racecourse hosts the event.
The Derby Stakes
Great Britain’s flagship horse race, the Derby Stakes, commences each June from Epsom Downs in Epsom, Surrey, England.
This legendary race first ran in 1780. Many other races around the world, including the Kentucky Derby, take their name from the Derby Stakes.
The Royal Ascot
An annual weeklong series held each June, the Royal Ascot is often attended by the British Royal Family. The prestige of the series is unmatched and takes place from Ascot Racecourse each year.
Betting on the Triple Crown
The Triple Crown consists of three of the most popular races listed above — the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. All of these races are eligible for wagering on legal horse racing betting sites. Below, we’ve listed the upcoming Triple Crown events as well as the previous three winners so you can be ready to place your bets.
Next Running: Saturday, May 6, 2023
Previous Winners: Rich Strike (2022), Mandaloun (2021), Authentic (2020)
Next Running: Saturday, May 20, 2023
Previous Winners: Early Voting (2022), Rombauer (2021), Swiss Skydiver (2020)
Next Running: Saturday, June 10, 2023
Previous Winners: Mo Donegal (2022), Essential Quality (2021), Tiz the Law (2020)
Is Online Horse Race Betting Legal In The US?
Off-track betting (OTB) parlors, the predecessor to modern online horse betting, were legalized in 1978. The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 contained language to explicitly legalize interstate wagering on horse racing.
A 2000 amendment to the Act legalized internet-based horse race betting. Though many forms of online gambling have faced legal hurdles in the US, online horse race betting is currently legal in more than 30 states.
What Is The History Of Horse Race Betting In The US?
Horse racing in the US traces its roots to the early 1800s. The tradition of horse racing in England carried over into American settlements.
Some of the earliest vestiges of modern-day horse race betting in the US still stand today. Saratoga Race Course opened in 1863, and the upstate New York venue is still one of the most hallowed horse racing venues in the US.
All three races making up the American Triple Crown debuted by 1875. Betting on horse racing has long been synonymous with the sport itself in the US. By 1900 more than 300 horse racing facilities were open for betting around the country.
Pari-Mutuel And Off Track Betting
Pari-mutuel betting was introduced in the US in the early 1900s and is still the most common method of horse race betting used today.
A total of 32 US states currently offer legal pari-mutuel betting. OTB parlors sprang up in New York in the 1970s, which allowed bettors outside of Nevada to engage in a form of online pari-mutuel betting for the first time.
The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 legalized OTB facilities, and in 2000 an amendment was added to the act expressly legalizing the use of the internet for off-track betting.
The UIGEA And Online Horse Race Betting
The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 effectively outlawed all internet-based gambling transactions that crossed state lines.
The UIGEA, however expressly allows an exemption for online horse race betting. The federal government permits individual states to enforce their own legislation on online horse race betting.
Nearly 40 states allow mobile horse race betting in some form. Horse race wagers are the only form of online gambling transactions allowed to cross state lines in the US.
Is It Safe To Bet On A Legal Online Horse Racing Betting Site?
Legal, regulated online horse race betting platforms in the US include brands like BetMGM, TVG, and TwinSpires. Several other legitimate, legal mobile horse race betting apps operate in the US as well.
Bettors should use caution and research mobile betting apps thoroughly to determine if they’re legally operating sites. Government agencies regulate all legal platforms. This ensures a secure experience for the bettor as well as accountability for the operating betting service.
Betting apps like TwinSpires and TVG are owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated and the FanDuel Group, respectively. These multi-billion dollar companies operate with a vested interest in providing prompt payouts, safe betting, and security of personal information.
Offshore betting platforms do not operate under the same level of regulation as legal betting sites. Betting at an offshore site does not offer the security of wagering on a legal platform. Offshore sites operate in the US illegally, and as such betting on these sites is also illegal.
What Options Are There To Deposit And Withdraw At Online Horse Betting Site?
One of the fastest ways to get funds on an online horse racing site is through ACH/eCheck deposit. This method draws directly from a bank account as an electronic check, and the funds usually become available instantly.
The ACH/eCheck deposit method is known as BetCash, Telecheck, and ECash at various horse race betting sites. Some sites occasionally reject the ACH/eCheck method but is still the most widely accepted deposit method at legal online gambling sites.
Most online horse race betting sites allow deposits using a Visa or Mastercard debit/credit cards. These deposits can sometimes be rejected by the issuing bank, but when it does work the funds are instantly available on the betting account.
Some betting sites charge fees for using debit/credit cards for deposits. Credit card deposits are also subject to cash advance fees from the issuing bank.
PayPal deposits provide one of the most reliable ways to put money on a mobile horse racing balance. The PayPal process takes a few extra steps compared to some other methods.
PayPal deposits have a nearly 100% success rate, and the funds become instantly available on a betting account.
PayNearMe and Green Dot MoneyPak
PayNearMe allows players to deposit at participating 7-Eleven locations. GreenDot Moneypak offers a similar service at participating Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Safeway Kroeger locations.
Both of these methods come with fees, and bettors should only use these deposit methods as a last resort.
Online Horse Race Betting FAQ
No, not all. Individual states can decide to legalize online horse race betting if they choose to do so. Online horse race betting is legal in some form in more than 30 states. Bettors in those states can access legal platforms like BetMGM, TVG, and TwinSpires.
States that outlaw online horse race betting include Nevada, Texas, Missouri, and others.
18 or 21, depending on the state. The minimum age for legal online horse race betting is 18 in most US states, but 21 in a few others.
The minimum age of 21 applies to Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, and Washington. In all other states with legal online horse race betting, the minimum age is 18.
Probably not. There are some legal question marks on this one. Generally, states that allow horse betting say in their laws that as long as the race is simulcast (i.e. televised or otherwise shown on a screen) within the state, you can bet on it. However, there are some questions if eventually federal law will strike that down.
All betting apps use geolocation technology to see the state you are physically located in. Whatever restrictions exist in the state where you are present will be reflected in your betting options on the app.
Horse race betting in the US is offered through pari-mutuel betting pools. Pari-mutuel betting puts all wagers on a race into a single pool, with payouts divided among all winning tickets.
The payout on a particular horse can go up or down based on how bets are divided across all participating horses in a race.
Mobile platforms like TVG operate as both horse race betting sites and streaming video services. In many cases, bettors wager on a race and then watch the race on the same platform in which they made the bet.
Pari-mutuel betting pools determine the odds set on horse racing in the US. Bettor activity on a race can make the odds on particular bets go up or down.
Yes. Mobile horse race betting is legal in more than 30 US states. Betting on the Kentucky Derby online is legal in all of these states, as long as bettors place the wager on a legal mobile horse race betting platform.
TVG is the most trusted, legal online horse race betting platform.
Yes. TVG operates legally in more than 30 US states. The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 legalized off-track betting (OTB), the predecessor to modern online horse race betting.
An amendment to the act in the year 2000 explicitly legalized internet-based mobile horse race betting. The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) outlawed internet gambling transactions that cross state lines but made an exception for horse race betting.