Last updated on: November 2nd, 2022

Legal Horse Betting Sites

Legal betting on horse races on the internet in the U.S. is one of the oldest forms of accepted bets by the nation for both land-based and online platforms. There is no shortage of races to put money on. Gambling on horses has always been a very popular pastime for Americans to participate in. States that have not yet embraced sports betting will often have horse racetracks and gambling on races is both legal and open to residents. Online betting on horse racing can be done through both state-affiliated sports betting applications or offshore internet operators. Both forms are 100% legal for bettors to use.

When using online betting sites, gamblers will find that they can wager on races from all over the globe. Not just the major events in the sport like the Kentucky Derby, although that is a huge payday for sportsbooks, races of all kinds are available for bets. Through our network and this page, in particular, you will find some of the best, most highly recommended sites to use for betting on horse racing. We will explain the odds and ends of the sport and how to gamble on it through internet platforms. Once you know how to do that, betting on horse racing will never be the same as you’ll be carrying your “racebook” with you wherever you are and can place bets on the races any time you’d like to.

#1

Bovada Sportsbook

Top Horse Racing Sportsbook

World renowned for their sportsbook, Bovada’s incredible racebook and horse racing odds within the sportsbook often go under the radar. They offer win, place, and show odds in both fractional and American odds for each race they offer. Bovada offers odds on all three triple crown races, while also having dedicated sections with races from each of the 30 different worldwide tracks that cover.

One thing that separates Bovada from the rest of the online racebooks is how seamlessly players can move within their racebook, sportsbook, and top-notch casino. Funds do not need to be transferred from one section to another, as all the different sections of their sites work together.

Rating: 5 Star Rating

  • Live Betting
  • Big Bonuses
  • Easy To Use
  • Mobile Betting
  • Best Odds

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#2

BetOnline Sportsbook

Huge Selection Of Horse Racing Odds

Offering odds on many different thoroughbred and harness-style horse races, BetOnline has separated itself from many other top racebooks with their variety of betting odds. The different types of odds that they offer for a standard race are straight-up, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta, while also offering daily double, pick threes, and pick five options that cover multiple races.

Unlike many other racebooks, BetOnline offers a 9% rebate on all exotic wagers within their site. There is no limit to how many times players take advantage of BetOnline’s rebate, making it one of the best deals offered by online horse racing sites. BetOnline also offers a $25 risk-free bet for player’s making their first bet in the racebook.

Rating: 5 Star Rating

  • Reliable Banking Methods
  • Strong Server Connection
  • 10+ Year Track Record
  • Huge Assortment Of Odds
  • No App Mobile Betting

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Legality Of Online Horse Race Betting

The legality of online horse race betting sites in the U.S. mainly comes from the fact that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) makes an exception for this sport. The UIGEA is a federal law that doesn’t allow for banking institutions to process payments made from an online gambling company to a bettor. When this law was enacted it forced many online gaming companies to leave the U.S. market. But, because the UIGEA left online pari-mutuel wagering up to individual states, many of them chose to allow companies like TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica to operate within their borders.

While these sites are some of the most well-known domestic pari-mutuel wagering sites, there is another way to access legal online racebooks. Those come in the form of offshore racebooks. Sites such as Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and MyBookie all offer a way to bet on horse races happening across the globe. These offshore racebooks are able to legally operate in any U.S. state due to the fact that they fall outside the legal purview of any state and the federal government. If you live in a state that allows you to access U.S.-based horse race betting sites then you can use these sites as a way to shop odds. If not, this route may be your only means to bet on horses online legally.

Best Online Horse Racing Sites Available In The US

There are plenty of options when it comes to horse racing betting sites for US players, some internationally regulated internationally and others regulated by individual states. Learning about the two best internationally regulated racebooks offered by Bovada and BetOnline and the three top state-sanctioned racebooks of TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica is a great starting point for horse racing bettors. Each racebook has unique features that have made them incredible in their own right that are highlighted below.

TVG:

One aspect of TVG that can’t be rivaled is their horse race viewing capabilities. TVG established itself as the go-to source for any televised racing events since before it released an online betting platform. When using TVG you can oftentimes watch live simulcasts of the races you bet on straight from the device you choose to bet your money with.

You also have multiple deposit options with TVG, most notably PayPal. However, if you don’t want to go through PayPal and would rather just use a debit or credit card than you can as well. TVG also offers pre-paid cards if you wanted to give one as a gift to a fellow pari-mutuel bettor. Withdrawing options are just as easy and they process rather quickly so you don’t have to wait to collect your winnings long after the race has been decided.

BetAmerica:

Headquartered in Kentucky, BetAmreica is also a famous name in the online gambling world. BetAmerica is a bit more diverse than it’s competitors. When you log onto the site, you’ll see that BetAmerica also offers an expansive online sportsbook and a lucrative online casino to go along with any horse racing betting you want. This may lead you to believe that they don’t put as much focus into their racebook but that would be a false claim. BetAmerica has long proven itself to be a leader in the industry.

One of the reason’s why it’s able to hold that title is because BetAmerica offers great promotions and deals to its users. This is especially true to new users because the site offers a 100% match bonus worth up to 100 dollars to anyone who makes their first deposit with the site. While offshore options feature similar deals and for often times more money, BetAmerica’s deals are still among the elite when compared to U.S. competitors.

TwinSpires:

TwinSpires holds arguably the strongest brand name of all legal U.S. horse race betting sites. That is because Twin Spires is the official partner of the Kentucky Derby. The site is also well known in the industry for offering just about all the different types of bets you can place on a horse race. You can put money on a win, place, or show bet while also having access to a large number of exotic bets.

TwinSpires also offers a very simple rewards program. You simply earn points every time you place a wager with them and once those points are accumulated you can use them for wagering credits. TwinSpires goes more into depth on how this system works on their site. They also have tutorials for how to place bets on the races they offer which makes it ideal for any gambler that is new to online pari-mutuel wagering.

Types Of Horse Racing Bets

  • Win: Betting on who you think will win the race.
  • Place: Betting on a horse to finish either first or second in the race.
  • Show: Betting on a horse to finish in the top three of the race.
  • Exacta: Picking two horses to finish first and second, in that order.
  • Trifecta: Picking three horses to finish first, second and third, in that order.
  • Superfecta: Picking four horses to finish 1-4, in order.
  • Pick 3: A parlay wager between three separate races, requiring three correct first-place bets on each race.
  • Pick 4: Picking the first-place winners of four different races, with one loss ruining the whole bet, but a monstrously high payout ratio.

U.S. Horse Race Betting Apps

Each one of the sites mentioned above offers some form of an iOS or Android platform that you can download from either the App Store or the Google Play Store. TVG allows you to stream races straight from the app giving it a great advantage over other mobile horse race betting platforms. When it comes to your offshore racebook options you can also bet on the ponies from your phone as well. While they may not have a dedicated app like the U.S. based sites, you can simply log-onto their racebook from your mobile browser and put money down through that route. Their sites are mobile-optimized meaning you can still get the look and feel of an app without having to download anything to your device. This actually saves you storage. So as long as you have an internet connection you can use any U.S. Horse Racing Betting Apps.

Biggest Horse Racing Events To Bet On

States with live horse racing tracks host dozens of races every year, but the majority of these races are regional in nature and their appeal is limited to local racing fans. But there are a handful of events that hold global renown and draw millions of viewers. The most prominent of these events is the Triple Crown races—the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The Triple Crown is one of the most coveted achievements not just in horse racing, but in all sports.

Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby

Known around the country as ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’, the Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown and the most popular horse race in America. The race is held at the legendary Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky every year since 1875. Fans in attendance can oftentimes include celebrities who want to enjoy one of the oldest traditions in the country in betting on the Kentucky Derby.

Preakness Stakes

preakness

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown and many times just as viewed as the Kentucky Derby. That is because it is held two weeks after the Derby and whichever horse the won the derby will see plenty of action being taken on him for this race. Many people are also able to attend this race because it is held at Pimlico Race Course which is located in the more populated city of Maryland.

Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes

The third of the Triple Crown events is the Belmont Stakes and this race is filled with a plethora of winning opportunity. If a single race horse succeeds in winning the previous two Triple Crown events, then players can wager in hopes to cash in on betting that racehorse will be the Triple Crown winner of all three races. There are sure to be a lot of betting odds available for the Belmont Stakes as well as other aspects of this major race.

Online Horse Racing Betting FAQs

How Do Horse Race Betting Payouts Work?

The payout for betting on a horse will depend on how much money has been bet on that individual horse. Let’s say you see a horse with 3:1 odds to win a race. Then you will only have to bet a dollar on that horse to win your dollar back plus three dollars. If those numbers were reversed and a certain horse has 1:3 odds to win a race then you will have to put down three dollars in order to win your money back plus an extra dollar. The payouts for a win bet will be higher because you have less of a chance of winning than when you place a place or show bet. Exotic bets can also serve a higher payout because there is less of a chance of your picks actually coming to fruition.

Why Can I Bet On Horses Online And Not Sports?

There are a few notable racebooks that offer horse racing in select states. Notable horse racing online operators are TwinSpires, TVG, BetAmerica Racing, and Xpressbet. These racebooks are horse racing focused. Other top online racebooks include Bovada and BetOnline. While these operators are more known for sports betting, they do offer some of the best odds for horse racing betting and fans should definitely check these operators when looking to bet on horses.

Do Horse Racing Betting Sites In The U.S. Offer Virtual Horse Race Betting?

Typically, the top U.S.-based horse race betting sites do not offer virtual horse race betting. This is a popular way of gambling online in Europe and in the U.K. especially, but none of the domestic sites we listed above offer this form of betting. However, state-licensed brick and mortar racetracks may offer historical horse racing, which is essentially the same as virtual racing. Races are based off of data complied from races that have already taken place, without the actual names of jockeys or horses being revealed to the bettor. Online racebooks that operate offshore may offer virtual horse race bets. These races happen every few minutes so there is no need to wait for live race in order to get the thrill of betting on the ponies. 

Can I Parlay Bets on Horses?

In sports betting, parlaying is a key component in any bettors toolbox. Parlays allow bettors to get increased odds on a bet that combines the results of multiple events. In horse racing, parlays can be one multiple races in one day, over a season, or even events in the same race. Parlaying for horse racing isn’t as popular as it is for traditional sports, but it can still be done. Check out your individual sports betting platform’s rules on parlaying horse races to find out exactly what is available to parlay.