There are several kinds of horse racing disciplines that American bettors enjoy, including Standardbred runs, harness racing events, and Thoroughbred racing. This latter, the so-called Sport of Kings, is the most sought-after. Indeed, the oldest continuously-held sporting event in US history — of any kind — is the Kentucky Derby, which was first run in and remains the ultimate Thoroughbred horse meet on the planet.
For many gamblers and other sports bettors, the Derby — and the magnificent sport it represents — is the highlight of the year. In other words, the Kentucky Derby and, to a lesser degree, the other Triple Crown races will keep horse racing relevant for decades to come. Yes, horse racing betting is legal in the United States, no matter where you live. The only real hurdle steeplechases notwithstanding! Most states — 40, to be precise — have horse racing betting available.
Not all of these states have active racetracks, though most do, and they also typically offer off-track betting OTB locations for those areas that are far away from active tracks. Thanks to the federal Interstate Horseracing Act , states are able to offer horse betting across state lines, and there is an active simulcast industry where bettors can place wagers on live races all across the country and even various races at tracks in other countries entirely.
Unlike typical sports betting, horse racing betting is of the pari-mutuel aka pool-based variety. This is one of the primary reasons that the pastime has always generally been treated as functionally different than house-banked sports wagering. As such, the typical minimum age to bet on the horses is 18 rather than There are exceptions, but this is generally true nationwide. Horse racing betting is also legally different from sports betting thanks to its payout structure.
In horse racing betting, payouts are not fixed, instead being contingent on all the other wagers placed in a given betting pool. The track takes its rake off the top, and the rest is paid out accordingly. These are mere estimates. This adds to the excitement for horseplayers, and it also means that the results are fundamentally and unassailably fair across the board. Just like other legal sports betting , you can find some great horse betting bonuses to help you hedge your bets.
As mentioned above, you can legally bet on horses pretty much anywhere. Forty US states have track-based, OTB-based, or casino-based horse racing betting or some combination of the three , and 37 states have active racetracks. South Carolina is the only US state with horse racing tracks where wagering is not actually legal, while Alabama, Connecticut, and Rhode Island lack tracks but do allow legal simulcast wagering.
The states that currently do not allow horse racing betting include the following:. While at least one of the above states — North Carolina — is on track to legalize horse racing betting and, in this new age of sports betting legalization, some of the other states might also drop their prohibitions sooner rather than later , you can still actually play the ponies in any of these states, anytime you want. Dedicated sports betting operators like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetDSI, and others are based overseas, and it is completely legal to use their international racebooks to place your wagers on daily horse races around the US.
Almost certainly, yes. The overwhelming majority of US racetracks, even those in smaller markets, are available over the Internet. However, there is a caveat: If you want absolutely comprehensive coverage, the place to go is to a simulcast or OTB venue, as these have state-regulated services on hand that broadcast action from all partner horse racing locales.
However, they are only slightly more limited. The tentative date for the th edition of the Kentucky Derby is May 1, , and an advantage of placing Kentucky Derby bets this early is that it maximizes the potential return. As these odds are likely to become shorter as the Derby approaches, getting in early could be a good way to get good Kentucky Derby odds on a favorite.
The odds for the Belmont Stakes are not up yet on the major horse racing betting websites, as the Belmont Stakes will resume its usual position as the last of the Triple Crown races. This position means that it will have odds posted after the odds for both the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby, and those odds will likely correspond to the winners and placers at those two big races. The Preakness Stakes do not have odds on them just yet, but the race will have odds on it soon enough.
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. Even better, these terms are all totally institutionalized, and all racetracks, OTBs, and offshore betting sites use identical terms. 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. There are four kinds of straight wagers in the horse racing betting world. 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. Vertical exotics refer to wagers that cover multiple races on any single day at a given track. The main horizontal exotics are the exacta aka perfecta, in some markets , trifecta, and superfecta.
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.
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.
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. 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 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. As such, you can only really find a comprehensive slate of horse racing props at offshore racebooks. Taking the price means that you are committing to the bet at whatever odds the horse is at the time of the bet.
It can of course go the other way, with a horse which is well-backed just before the race naturally shortening in price. A place bet is something which catches some punters out. In the UK, a place bet is much more fluid and depends on the conditions of the race and the number of runners. Those are the hard rules, however others apply from bookmaker to bookmaker, i.
Those are the hard rules, however others apply from bookmaker to bookmaker, i. They are all obligated to pay place money on the above, though for races such as the Grand National where there may be as many as 40 runners, some bookmakers will pay 5 or even 6 places as a special offer.
Not just the perceived chance of the runner but also how much money is in the pot overall will dictate what price a punter will get for it to be placed and this changes almost constantly until the race is off. An each-way bet is a combination of the above, being both a win bet and a place bet. As a punter, you are effectively placing two bets at once in this case. The easiest way for most bettors is to access their websites via your mobile device.
The display will automatically adjust to your small screen. You can deposit and place bets while on the move. There are dedicated horse racing apps, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for Apple devices. Android users can download an app for TVG, though not the other two sites.
Each of the major online racing sites offers free bets or bonuses. How these are given varies. Note that these will come with playthrough requirements and other terms and conditions. Check out our detailed horse race betting site reviews for more on the fine print. Options range from heading to your local track, to using your mobile phone to view a live stream. Here are the main choices:. In each race, the amount of money bet on the individual horses determined the odds.
These can be expressed as positive or negatives. Odds for place and show selections are naturally smaller than for win bets. You have multiple chances of being paid. Horse racing has a skill element, involving finding value from the field. Picking a potential winner or finding a selection whose price is better than their true winning chances will make you money over time.
Online horse racing betting sites help you pick winners by providing statistics detailing the results of previous races. These range from simple form guides and raw results to detailed past performance databases. Many databases are paid services, with the racebooks offering them as a perk for bettors who wager on a specific meeting. All racing bets are pooled. The total bet around the country on a race is divided among the selections.
The winners should this horse win are paid The prizes for place, show and trifecta bets are determined in the same way. There are prestigious events for all types of horse racing , which range from harness through to Arabian horses. This involves three races for thoroughbreds, each of which has qualifiers to ensure that only the best horses get to take part. Here are the races in date order.
To complete the Triple Crown, a horse needs to win all three in the same year. Apps and websites operating in these states often allow wagering on races across the country and even internationally. That leaves it up to the states whether they want to legalize online wagering on horse races. Anywhere the platforms above offer wagering, state laws have been enacted to allow for online wagering and horse race betting apps. If no real races are going on, you can also wager on virtual horse races.
These are races simulated by a computer program, and bettors can still wager on the outcome. More on virtual sports betting. Unfortunately, this is not offered in the US, although land-based and online casinos may offer this in the near future. Wagering on virtual horse races is more common in Europe and other regulated markets internationally.
To the majority of people, racehorses look similar. While there is a big mix of heritage, they can all be traced back to just three fathers born in the s. Those sires were then imported to England, where they established blood-lines that were later imported to the US. Standardbred Horses: Harness racing uses a different breed known as standardbred. These horses can have thoroughbred ancestors, with mixed heritage.
This breed is considered easier to handle than the highly-strung thoroughbreds. A different breed, known as Arabian horses takes part in these contests. Arabian horses are perfect for long distances racing , though not for short bursts of speed. As the name implies, these horses recorded as a subsection of thoroughbreds were first bred in the Middle East.
Quarter Horses: Quarter Horses is a name given to the mixed-breeds which come from Spanish colonial stock.
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