Last updated on: January 3rd, 2023

Horse Racing Betting In The US

Betting on horse races with an online legal racebook can be done from anywhere with multiple online betting sites. These betting sites let you place bets on horse races that you would be able to bet on right at the track all without having to wait in any lines to do so. Other than convenience and quality of odds offered though, they offer bonuses as well for new and existing users that are looking to bet on horse races. As you continue on this page, all the information that you need to bet on horses can be found.

  • Horse Race Betting With Cryptocurrency
  • Horse Race Betting Promotions
  • Bet On Horses From Anywhere

Is Horse Racing Betting Legal In The United States?

Yes, horse racing betting is indeed legal in the United States. Most states offer regulated options for legal horse racing betting and locals can go place their bets at local race tracks. Currently, 40 markets offer some form of betting on horse racing. States can offer odds on horses races thanks to the Interstate Horseracing Act. Even in markets without racetracks or regulated horse racing, thanks to online sportsbooks there are legal options for horse racing betting in all states. The typical betting age for horse races is 18. Horse racing betting is regulated separately from sports betting.

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Bovada Sportsbook

Legal Horse Betting For 45 US States

Bovada is one of the most reliable online betting platforms that is legal for 45 US states. The Racebook can be used to place wagers on specific horses at small events or it can be used to bet big on any of the Triple Crown events in 2023. There are new player bonuses that can be redeemed and any different secure deposit methods for funding the online book. Bettors will never be bored with Bovada’s grand selection of horse racing odds that are legal for horse bettors in 45 US States.

Rating: 5 Star Rating

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BetOnline Sportsbook

Bitcoin Horse Betting

BetOnline may be mostly known for their sportsbook but the online betting site has a full Racebook for all legal horse betting fans and bets can be placed quickly through Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. When betting on horses with crypto, there are no fees for making deposits or requesting withdrawals. BetOnline currently offers 17 different cryptocurrencies that can be used on the site and they all have lightning-fast processing times. This type of payment method makes it easy to bet on last-second underdogs or any major or minor races.

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MyBookie Sportsbook

Bonuses For all Online Horse Bettors

There are many different bonuses that can be used at MyBookie to bet on legal horse betting but the best offer is through their 8% horse rebate promotion. This bonus is for all existing players of the Racebook and will be automatically applied to a bettor’s bankroll after the promotion is redeemed. There are no rollover requirements for this horse betting bonus, making it a stress-free and profitable horse betting experience. When betting with the rebate, MyBookie reduces the risk of losing by offering 8% to all existing players.

Ratings: 5 Star Rating

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XBet Sportsbook

Bet On Horses From Your Phone

Betting on horse races with XBet comes easy with their mobile betting platform that gives you access to all of the horse betting odds from anywhere you are. Whether you are watching live at the track or in the comfort of your own home, XBet has their odds available to you right in the palm of your hand. Their platform is compatible with multiple devices as long as it has access to the internet.

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SportsBetting Sportsbook

Safe And Secure Horse Betting

SportsBetting not only offers some of the top odds on the world’s biggest horse races, but they offer a safe and secure platform for you to do so. In place on SportsBetting’s platform are encrypted links that will secure not just their servers, but your web browser as well holding all of your personal and financial information. Going even a step further, they have some of the best customer services that you could ask for from an online sportsbook.

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Latest News

Where Can I Legally Bet On Horses?

There are many different legal avenues for betting on horses across the US, with physical racetracks located in most states and online horse betting sites that are available single every state. With 36 states offering local race tracks, there are constantly legal horse racing odds that can be wagered on in the US. Alabama Rhode Island and Connecticut are all examples of states that offer legal horse betting but do not have local tracks in the state.

If living in a state that does not have a local racetrack, or not wanting to leave the house, there are online Racebooks that offer horse racing odds for bettors in all 50 states. A lot of these trusted sites are run through an online sportsbook operator. Some of them take the form of odds that can be found on sportsbooks like Bovada and other sites have separate Racebooks that can be accessed through the platform like BetOnline.

Are The Races Available At My Local Track Available Online?

More than likely yes. Online sports betting sites offer betting lines for pretty much all races throughout the year. Horse racing betting is a popular betting activity and online sportsbooks consistently incorporate betting lines for all sporting events, especially horse racing betting. The best part is that players can find their local track races at multiple books, allowing them to compare odds to find the best one., this is known as line shopping. It is to be noted, however, that betting fans will get more local and regional action at a retail OTB or simulcast-ready racetrack than you will at a licensed sportsbook.

The local OTB venues simply have more options available at their state-regulated books because they are built specifically for the events taking place there. But, a major benefit that online licensed sportsbooks have over local OTB’s is that betting fans have more options for races outside the local tracks as well. This means players can wager on both their local races and races in other US venues. Online sports betting is still one of the better options for betting on sports at your local track.

Kentucky Derby Odds

The Kentucky Derby is one of the major Triple Crown races that take place annually and is the first of the three races. The race is held on the legendary Churchill Downs race track where all-time great horses have made names for themselves. Racebooks host odds for the overall winner of the event, head-to-head matchups for horses, and exotics bets are available as well. Live horse race betting is also an option during the Kentucky Derby. Betting on the Kentucky Derby early is the best way to play, as odds are long for all major horses.

Preakness Stakes Odds

The Preakness Stakes is the second major Triple Crown event and is one of the biggest races every year. Online sportsbooks host betting odds for this big race and some of the biggest names in the business compete for the big prize. The Preakness Stakes is held at the Pimlico Race Course and hosts a purse of $1 million. Placing action on the Preakness Stakes gives betting fans options for betting on the exacta, superfecta, trifecta, and more. There are even options for head-to-head matchups between individual horses. Betting on the Preakness Stakes  is filled with options for maximum winning potential.

Belmont Stakes Odds

The third of the Triple Crown events is the Belmont Stakes. The Belmont Stakes takes place at the legendary Belmont Park and longshot betting fans can find action on this event at this event early on, even directly following the Kentucky Derby. A big thing with Belmont Stakes betting is seeing if a single horse won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. If this racehorse could also take the Belmont Stakes, betting fans could cash in on betting If there will be a single Triple Crown winner and take all three races. The Belmont Stakes also has a plethora of exotic wagers and straight bets for horse racing betting fans as well.

Horse Racing Wager Types

In order to really enjoy the full gamut of legal horse racing betting in the US, you need to make sure you understand the basic wager types. There are a few specific terms you’ll need to know, but for the most part, your betting options are going to be relatively straightforward. Even better, these terms are all totally institutionalized, and all racetracks, OTBs, and offshore betting sites use identical terms. The only difference you’re likely to come across between various betting outlets is how they advertise their odds. Most in-person venues will use fractional odds, while most racebooks on the Internet will use moneyline odds. (A select few European outlets still use decimal odds, but you will rarely come across these as a US bettor.)

There are two main types of horse racing wagers: straight bets and exotic bets. These cover everything but futures bets and specials, which are limited to overseas books and are typically only available for the biggest races on the calendar.

Horse Betting Straight Wagers

There are four kinds of straight wagers in the horse racing betting world. You can place Win, Place, Show (aka W/P/S or WPS) and “across the board” (ATB) bets.

  1. Win – A “Win” bet means that you simply pick a horse to win the race. If the horse wins, you win, and if the horse loses, you lose. Simple.
  2. Place – “Place” bets require you to pick a horse, and if that horse finishes in 1st or 2nd, you win.
  3. Show – A “Show” bet means that you pick a horse, and if that horse finishes in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, you win.
  4. Across the board – ATB bets are similar to the above, but you’re betting on all three WPS results for a specific horse. For example, let’s say you pick a horse “across the board”. If that pony wins outright, you receive all of the Win, Place, and Show amounts. If the horse finishes in 2nd, you get the Place and Show amounts. If the horse finishes in third, you get the Show amount. The more chances a given wager gives you to win, the more expensive that ticket is. Where this really comes into play is with exotic bets.

Horse Racing Exotic Wagers

Exotics are akin to parlay bets in sports wagering. Essentially, you are wagering on multiple horses and multiple outcomes, all on the same ticket. If you want to make big money with your horse racing bets, exotic wagers are what you need to stick to. There are two main categories of exotics, commonly called “horizontal” and “vertical.” Horizontal exotics are wagers that pertain to one single race. Vertical exotics refer to wagers that cover multiple races on any single day at a given track.

Horizontal Exotics

The main horizontal exotics are the exacta (aka perfecta, in some markets), trifecta, and superfecta. These types of exotic bets can also be “boxed,” which is a strategy many horseplayers use.

  1. Exacta/Perfecta – If you place an exacta bet, you are picking two specific horses to finish in 1st and 2nd place, in that exact order. You can “box” an exacta, allowing the horses you choose to finish in either order, but you will be wagering a set amount for each possible winning outcome. You can also box an exotic wager with more horses, but again, this increases your chances to win and therefore costs more to place the bet. For example, if you “box” an exacta with three horses, only two must finish in first or second, in either order. As there are six possible winning outcomes, you will pay six times what a single exacta ticket would cost. The more horses you box, the larger the price of the overall wager.
  2. Trifecta – A trifecta is exactly like the exacta above, except that you are picking three horses to finish in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, in the exact winning order. You can box a trifecta bet with as many horses as you wish, but the price gets steep in a hurry. For example, in the Kentucky Derby, a $1 trifecta win might earn you $100. That’s a nice payout. But if you box your trifecta with six horses, at $1 per possible winning combination, you’d spend $120 on the ticket. Even if your six-horse box trifecta hits, you’re still out $20!
  3. Superfecta – A superfecta is the same as an exacta or a trifecta, but here, you’re picking the four horses to finish in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, in order. A $1 superfecta bet can be boxed, and a winning ticket can pay upwards of $20,000 or more. Again, however, boxing these can get pricey in an instant. A 13-horse boxed $1 superfecta has 17,160 different winning combinations, so it will cost you $17,160. Even if the payout is $20,000, that’s a pretty outsize risk for most gamblers.

Vertical Exotics

Vertical exotic wagers are commonplace, and these allow bettors to place a single wager covering several different races’ results. The most common vertical exotics that you’ll find will be referred to as Pick 3, Pick 5, or Pick 6 wagers. A Pick 3 bet requires you to choose three of the day’s races at a particular track and correctly pick each of those races’ winning horses. Pick 5s work the same way, except you’re picking 5 different race winners. Pick 6s are again the same, only you’re selecting 6 different races’ winners.

Not all tracks have Pick 5s and Pick 6s, but just about every single horse racing bookmaker will have Pick 3s and – even more commonly – “Pick 2s,” which are usually referred to as Daily Doubles. Some tracks will let you pick the races you’re betting on, while others will mandate specific races that such vertical exotics apply to. Daily Doubles almost always require you to wager on two consecutive races, making them quite a lot tougher than they might otherwise be. Vertical exotics have huge moneymaking potential, and many lucky bettors have won hundreds of thousands of dollars hitting on comparatively inexpensive Pick 5 or Pick 6 bets.


Horse Racing: What Are Wheeled Bets?

A wheeled bet means that you place a wager on a specific outcome, and then a range of further outcomes in addition to it. Here’s how Bovada explains it:

Example: If you wheel the $2 horse with the #4, #5 and #7 horses (2 / 4,5,7), your bet will be graded as a win if the first two finishers are 2-4, 2-5, or 2-7. Conversely, if you wheel the #4, #5 and #7 horses with the #2 horse (4,5,7 / 2), your bet will be graded as a win if the first two finishers are 4-2, 5-2, or 7-2.

Effectively, this allows you to hedge. You can make one strong prediction, and then several weaker predictions, and receive a payout if the strong prediction and one of your weak predictions pans out.

Horse Racing: What Are Boxed Wagers?

Boxed bets allow you to hedge a little bit by giving you wiggle room on an Exacta. For example, you can wager on the first and second horses in a race to finish first and second, but if you aren’t sure of the order, you can box the wager so it doesn’t matter what order they finish in, as long as they both finish first and second.

Horse Racing: What Is A Coupled Entry?

Sometimes, horses trained by the same trainer, or from the same stable, can be bet on as a unit. These odds are handicapped a bit, and they’re a nice way to wager on a stable of top-tier horses for a profit.

Horse Racing: What Happens When A Horse Is Scratched?

When a horse is scratched from the running, they are removed from all bets placed. They are still visible as a participant, but they cannot be wagered upon. At most sportsbooks, they will be greyed out.

Other Ways To Legally Bet On Horse Races

Outside of the betting types mentioned earlier, there are even more options like futures, prop bets and two-way betting. Online racebooks, both regulated and international, and physical racetracks all offer betting lines such as these and more. You will find there is no shortage of ways to wager on horse races. Particularly during the Triple Crown, events you will find a slew of odds and betting lines available.

Horse Racing Futures

Futures represent outcomes that are still far off on the horse racing calendar. The best example of horse racing futures occurs in the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby, and these are posted before the final field is set. Though the Kentucky Derby can only be run between a maximum of 20 different horses, the futures lines posted at most overseas bookmakers have 40+ ponies to choose from. Half or more of these won’t even make the Run for the Roses, meaning that you’d lose the bet if you pick a horse that doesn’t make the cut.

Futures bets are never refunded if your horse doesn’t actually run in the race, regardless of why. Even if the pony is a late scratch, a futures bet is always binding and always has action. (A reputable book will typically refund a race-day scratch for pari-mutuel bet types, but futures are house-banked, not pool-based.)

Horse Racing Props

Horse racing prop bets are akin to proposition wagers in other sports, where the book provides you with any number of scenarios, and you choose whether or not that scenario will happen. Horse racing props typically come in the form of a yes/no or over/under wager, and like futures, these are almost always exclusively house-banked rather than pari-mutuel. As such, you can only really find a comprehensive slate of horse racing props at offshore racebooks.

Some examples of horseplayer props you might come across include things like whether or not a given pony will beat the course record, how many lengths the winning horse will win by, whether or not a given trainer’s horse or horses will podium, and so on. Prop wagers are always a ton of fun, and in some ways, it’s a shame that they’re only really available online. However, they’re a great reason to join an offshore racebook, even if you have easy access to a local track or OTB.

Mobile Horse Racing Betting

Mobile betting on horse races is easier than ever in 2023. The best horse race books are going to be the ones that operate internationally, so they offer the most odds at the best prices. This means that you’ll want to use mobile websites instead of apps, as they are more widely available than the app-based websites are. All you have to do is visit a book like Bovada on your mobile device to get started with horse betting.

Devices That Can Bet On Horse Races

  • iPhone
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Google Pixel
  • Android
  • LG Wing
  • Microsoft Surface

IPhone Horse Race Betting

You can easily bet on horse races with iPhones when you use mobile websites for horse race betting. To get started, use Safari on your iPhone to visit a website like Bovada or BetOnline, then select the Horse Racing option from the top bar.

Android Horse Race Betting

Betting on horse races with Android devices is easy as long as you know how to do it. The first step is to use your browser to visit the website of a reputable sportsbook like Bovada. Once you’ve done that, you can start betting on horse races by using the horse race section at that sportsbook. Note that Bovada does NOT have an app!

Betting On Horse Races With Cryptocurrency

There are several opportunities for you to bet on horse races with cryptocurrency on many different online racebooks. These books will let you place your horse race bets with 10+ cryptos and each of them come with plenty of perks. One of the main perks is the convenience of how easy the process is once you link your crypto wallet directly to your online racebook account. Other things to get excited about when betting on horse races with cryptocurrency are the fast processing times and no deposit or withdrawal fees. Some cryptocurrencies that you can choose from to bet with are:

Online Horse Race Betting Bonuses

Similar to the online sports betting bonuses that are offered on these sites, they also have some great horse race betting bonuses as well. The great thing about bonuses is that the horse race betting sites do not limit you to signing up for just one specific betting site. You have the option of signing up for more than one betting site and taking advantage of all of their bonuses.

  • Bovada: 5% Rebate
  • BetOnline: 9% Rebate
  • MyBookie: 8% Rebate
  • XBet: 7% Rebate
  • SportsBetting: 9% Rebate

Horse Race Betting Deposits

Making an online betting deposit into your horse betting account comes extremely easy as there are several different ways to do so. Regardless of which deposit method you choose to fund your accounts though, you’ll need to follow different guidelines if they apply depending on which method you choose. That includes deposit limits, transaction fees, and processing times. Some of the deposit methods that you can choose from on different online betting sites include:

  • Cryptocurrency
  • Debit/Credit Card
  • MatchPay
  • Money Order
  • Wire Transfer

How To Collect Your Horse Race Betting Winnings

One of the most important things to know from an online horse race betting site is how to withdraw your funds. You have many options when it comes to withdrawing, but it is worth noting that credit and debit card payouts are not one of those options. If you deposited with a credit or debit card, you’ll need to withdraw with another payment method. Also, you can only withdraw with crypto if you made your initial deposit with it. Some of the different online betting withdrawal method are:

  • Cryptocurrency
  • MatchPay
  • Echeck
  • Check By Courier
  • Voucher
  • Money Order
  • Wire Transfer

Common Terms Used During Horse Races That All Bettors Should Know

Often when listening to commentators as you’re watching a race, they will use terms that only seasoned horse racing goers would understand. It’s important to know what these terms mean when it comes to betting on a horse. If you’d rather pick a horse based on what you’re seeing rather than it’s listed odds, these words will help you all the more.

Made All – When they say that a horse “made all” it means that they got themselves into first place during a race and remained there till the end.

Dwelt – Basically meaning when a horse trots at their own speed and does not try to get ahead in the race by galloping at a faster rate.

Supplement – To supplement a horse means that the horse has entered the competition during its final rounds. To supplement a horse means the owner will typically have to pay in order to get the horse a spot.

EW – When EW is referenced in horse betting it stands for Each Way bet. This bet has two sections; for the horse to win and then for the horse to place.

Quinella – Two horses are chosen and if those horses finish first and second is either order, you win. Secondary term for an exacta box.


Are The Online Racebooks Safe?

Yes, the online racebooks we recommend are safe to use. Whether you use websites like Twinspires and TVG, or turn to offshores like Bovada and BetOnline, you should be in good hands. Just make sure you stick to the websites that are vouched for by those you trust. We as a website cannot vouch for every single online racebook, only the ones that we use.

What’s The Difference Between Offshore And State Sanctioned Books?

In terms of how it affects you, the wagerer, functionally none. They offer the same odds and the same functionality. However, the state sanctioned books are just that – state sanctioned. They might have mildly worse odds, given that they are taxed, but they could be a good option depending on your preference. The choice is up to you.