Last updated on: March 3rd, 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.

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 Race Betting Sites In The US

While there are many horse race betting sites operating in the U.S. there are three that are head and shoulders above the competition. Those are TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica. Each one of these sites is state-regulated and has a strong footprint in the U.S. market. When looking at online racebooks operating outside the U.S. your top choices would be Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline, and MyBookie. Both options have their distinct advantages, but since the majority of U.S. states have the ability to access the first three we’ll quickly take a look at the features of each one of those.


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.


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 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.

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


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 reasons. For starters, the federal ban on sports betting known as PASPA was in effect since the internet came about. It was active from 1992 until 2018 when it was eventually repealed. However, even after it was repealed the Wire Act remains in place. This limits the range of where online sports betting operators can do business. For example, someone in Florida can’t use an online sportsbook based in Pennsylvania because that would be a violation of the Wire Act. Online horse race betting sites, however, avoid both of these laws.

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.