Legal Horse Racing

Horse racing has been one of the most popular sporting spectacles for hundreds of years and over that time, fans of the sport have grown accustomed to placing wagers on such races to enhance the fun. This act is legal in many states although there are some that oppose the activity. Legal online horseracing is another horse betting outlet that has become even more popular than live horse racing over the past few years. One reason behind that fact is that it is completely legal if you are using the right sites, and online horse racing betting is exempt from federal gaming laws in the United States, such as the Wire Act and the UIGEA.

The legality of betting on horse races is what this page was put together to explain, and throughout, you should gain a better understanding of what is allowed. We will provide fast, informative, accurate information and even help potential players decide what the best legal horse betting sites on the Internet have to offer them. Whether you’re wagering on the Kentucky Derby, the other Triple Crown races, or just enjoying some general daily action at any of dozens of tracks across the US and the rest of the world, we will help you become an informed horseplayer in a hurry!

Betting on Horse Racing Laws

Horse racing laws vary depending on the state they take place in. Although it is a highly regulated industry and most states have allowed the act of betting on horses, there are still some things that potential players should know.

When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was implemented, it was aimed to prevent online gambling from happening in the United States as well as to avoid money laundering situations. However, horse racing was specifically excluded from the law and does not fall under its umbrella of authority. The government decided that horse racing betting isn’t the same as sports wagering so they gave it a pass.

State laws are all different when it comes to their specific stances on legal horse racing betting but the majority of U.S. states have licensed and regulated horse racing events and allow wagers to take place. There are a couple of states with legal sports betting who don’t allow anything of the kind but for the most part, off-track betting on horses is legal in the United States.

You also must remember that the legal gambling age to bet on horse races is dependent on what state you are in or what online site you may be using. Most states require players to be at least 18 years old while some even have restrictions for players until they are 21. Regardless of your age, make sure you know the state laws and don’t attempt to bet at a live site, or at online sites unless you are of age.

Online Horse Racing Laws

Online horse racing betting, as well as off-track horse racing betting, have rapidly become as popular as any other sports wagering activity; but that being said, betting on horse racing online comes with its own specific limitations and rules.

Federal laws like the UIGEA and the recently-overturned PASPA were implemented to stop the widespread norm of gambling, but neither really were/are impactful when it comes to legal horse betting sites. The UIGEA has affected the way the banking side of things is done, but it doesn’t disallow the activity. PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992) barred the act of sports betting in most states, but even it did not include horse racing as a sport, so the activity always fell outside of its grasp. Additionally, horseplayers and domestic racebooks were specifically exempted from the Wire Act, as enumerated in the Interstate Horseracing Act (1978).

As far as state regulations and licensing are concerned, it varies depending on where you are. There are 15 states that prohibit the act of online gambling but that is only in regards to operations that run inside the state. So if you're wondering if horse betting is legal, as long as you use offshore online racebook sites, you are completely safe to place bets and enjoy yourself.

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Legal Triple Crown Betting

With the first race coming up in May (the Kentucky Derby), fans everywhere are looking for legal betting options for the Triple Crown. Legal Triple Crown betting starts and ends with the fact that it is legal to bet on all three races of the Triple Crown. The key to this is to use one of the many offshore online gambling sites that provide safe licensed and regulated betting opportunities for all U.S. bettors that like to wager on horses. Online sportsbooks have lines on a ton of sports racing events and that includes all three races in the Triple Crown. There will be lines not only on who will win the races but what the winner’s time will be, by how many lengths the winner will win, and so much more. Choose the site that’s right for you and start betting today.

Triple Crown Betting Odds
Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown. Held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY, on the first Saturday in May each year, the Kentucky Derby is the most well-known of all the American Thoroughbred races and is also the most famous horse race in the world. Known as the Run for the Roses, this event is run on a one-and-a-quarter-mile dirt track by three-year-old thoroughbreds. The Derby sets the stage for Triple Crown racing, as the winner of the Derby is the only one who can go on to claim the title that year.

Known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” the Derby attracts more viewers and bettors than the other two Triple Crown races. Futures for this event begin popping up months in advance, as soon as the qualifying races begin in September. With up to 20 horses all competing for a slot in history, Kentucky Derby betting odds can get intense and change quickly. Getting in on the action can be done at OTB shops all over, but the best place to bet on the Derby is at an online sportsbook. We’ll list the current 2022 Kentucky Derby futures odds below and continuously update the site as the event draws nearer.

2022 Kentucky Derby Odds

Steven Asmussen and his horse, Epicenter, hold down the shortest odds to win the 2022 Kentucky Derby and rightfully so. Asmussen is the winningest horse trainer of all time and he has done a great job with Epicenter thus far having won four of six races already. If you were to get in on Epicenter’s with $100 and he were to win, you would be staring at a $400 profit. It is best to get in on the odds sooner rather than later as odds can shift forward at any given moment.

Preakness Stakes

Preakness race day is THE big day in the Old Line State as the historic Pimlico Race Course gets set to hold the 147th running of the Preakness Stakes, the Second Jewel of the Triple Crown. The race takes place almost immediately after the Kentucky Derby on May 21. Odds for the 2022 Preakness are not yet out, however, they will be soon shortly after the conclusion of the Derby.

Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, and it is without a doubt the hardest and longest race in the series, coming in at a whopping 1 ½ miles (or 12 furlongs) in length. Held at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY, the Belmont Stakes is among the most well-known of all the American thoroughbred races and one of the most famous pony races in the entire world. Known as the Run for the Carnations, this event puts the finishing touches on Triple Crown racing, as the winner of the so called “Test of the Champion” will indeed be one of the world’s most elite racehorses. The 2022 Belmont Stakes will be run on Saturday, June 11, and if a Triple Crown contender is in the field, you can expect that horse to be a huge favorite. Check back here closer to race day for updated odds as the Belmont Stakes gets closer to gate time.

Legal Horse Racing Betting With Bitcoin

Bitcoin is slowly but surely becoming the premiere banking option for all online gambling ventures and that includes wagering on horse racing. Bitcoin horse racing is sure to produce a great off-track betting experience that includes high betting limits, top notch security, and fast deposits and payouts. Bitcoin being available at online horse racing sites is yet another huge step in its growing market.

Legal Horse Racing Betting Sites

Pari-mutuel fans everywhere are constantly trying to find the best legal horse racing betting sites on the internet. The qualities you should be looking for in a potential legal horse racing site are things like safety, legality, reliability, favorable odds and limits, and banking variety. Also, legal live betting on horse races is an important feature for potential horse betting sites. For all of your legal off-track betting needs, you should check out sites like Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, or 5Dimes Sportsbook. These sites give you the benefit of betting on big horse races like the Breeders Cup or any of the Triple Crown Races from the comfort of your own home. You can use your computer or even your mobile device to place wagers and win big.

BetOnline7% Horse Betting Rebates + Fast Payouts

BetOnline offers one of the best horse betting sites for players looking for legal online racebooks. After starting in 1991, BetOnline has built a great reputation for excellent variety and customer service. They accept all players from within the United States and offer lines on just about any horse race you can think of, as well as tons of other sporting events. Players who decide to create an account with BetOnline can also enjoy their unique features such as a live betting option as well as mobile device compatibility. The live betting feature provides the option to bet on your favorite sporting event after it has already begun and the mobile betting option, allows you to make wagers via your smartphone.

This site also has quite a few bonus opportunities, including a 7% horse rebate on all bets. These are just a sample of the many amazing attributes of BetOnline so sign up with their racebook today and win big while betting on the Triple Crown, or one of your other favorite races.

Bovada Great Bonuses for New Players

Bovada is one of the longest running and premiere gambling websites on the web and they have one of the most popular racebooks as well. The added features and bonus opportunities are reason enough to check this site out but there is so much more than that. This site doesn’t discriminate against players of different skill levels. Anybody can join and have a good time betting on whatever sport they want, including horse races.

This site offers traditional win, place, and show bets as well as the more exotic types such as trifectas and exactas. You can follow each and every race right when you enter into the racebook section of Bovada so the races are easy to track (no pun intended). With rebate opportunities on all straight wagers at the racebook, Bovada is absolutely the site for you to start your legal horse racing betting adventure. Sign up for free today and see what else this site has to offer.

Top Sportsbooks for Legal Horse Betting
Legal Horse Betting FAQ's

Is It Legal To Bet On Horse Racing Online In The US?

Yes, it is legal to bet on horse racing online in the US. Currently, there are no laws preventing US residents from betting on horse racing at a federal level. There are a few states that have passed legislation that keeps horse racing betting outside of their states, but that is in regards to land-based horse racing betting. So what that means is you won’t find a pari-mutuel ticket window at race tracks in those states, or an off-track betting shop, but you can still use an online racebook. The best ones are online, offshore racebooks, because they offer the most wagering options on the most races worldwide. They are regulated by gaming commissions and are completely safe to use, no matter where in the US you live.

Is Online Horse Racing Betting Similar To Betting At The Track?

Online horse racing betting is similar to betting at the track. You have access to all of the same wager types, plus some other ones that land-based racetracks don’t offer. You’ll also have an easier time getting your bet in because you just have to choose things off of a screen, rather than say them in the exact order to a teller. Anyone who lives far from a track or just doesn’t feel like dealing with the crowds can do all of the same things at an online horse racing betting site so that they never have to miss out on the action.

Should I Sign Up At More Than One Online Racebook?

The most important thing to do when betting on horse racing online is to make sure you’re comfortable. That means some people only want a single account. For others, though, this could mean creating multiple accounts. The advantage to signing up at more than one online racebook is better odds and more horse racing options. One book may only cover American races, while another covers the European circuit and another covers worldwide events. Those that cover the same events might have different odds for the same horse, so you can choose to bet at the book that has the more appealing payout. Plus, extra racebook accounts mean extra racebook bonuses.

How Can I Bet On The Kentucky Derby?

Betting on the Kentucky Derby can be done a few different ways. When you’re placing your bet in person, you need to remember to keep all of the information in the correct order. Once you’ve figured out what bet you want to place, you must say it to the teller exactly in order, otherwise your bet will have no shot of winning right from the get go. Kentucky Derby betting is structured like this: Track Name, Race Number, Dollar Amount of Bet, Type of Bet, and Horse Number. Don’t confuse race number with horse number or the order. Once your bet is input and your ticket is printed, there’s no going back. If you’re betting on the race online, you’ll be led through this step by step by choosing things off of a screen, so it can be a little easier, especially if you’re at home instead of a crowded ticket window.

What Are Kentucky Derby Morning Line Odds?

Morning line odds are estimated betting odds that are released by Churchill Downs’ personal handicapper. Morning line odds are not set in stone; what you see in the morning might not be the same as when the windows close minutes before the race. Morning line odds, like all betting odds, are influenced by what the public is doing. This could mean that a longshot in the morning could have much more favorable odds leading up to the race, and vice versa, the favorite could drop to become a longshot. It is important to remember that morning line odds are the same as any type of betting odds – influenced by public perception more than the horse’s actual chance of winning. Just remember to be confident in what you’re betting on.

Should I Wait For The Morning Line Odds To Come Out Before Making A Bet?

Morning line odds are just estimates, so they are what you make of them. Some people prefer to place futures and have already wagered on the race well before the morning of. Others like to watch how the people are betting and wait for the perfect time to place their bets for the best betting odds the day of. Honestly, it just depends on what type of horse racing bettor you are. If you’re using an online racebook, your morning line odds are usually going to be different than the ones that are released by the track, because different oddsmakers are making them. So everything really depends on what you want to do and what you feel comfortable doing.

What Happens To My Bet If My Horse Is Scratched?

If a horse is scratched, and you placed a win/place/show bet, your money will be refunded. If you placed an exotic wager like an exacta, trifecta, or superfecta, the portion of your bet that involves a scratched horse will be refunded and your wager will be adjusted accordingly. If you picked a daily double and the horse is scratched but you won the second part of your ticket, you will receive a consolation payout. Pick 3/pick 4, the scratched horse will be replaced with the race favorite in your ticket. These are just general rules for when a horse is scratched, so make sure to check the rulebook of your particular racebook to be sure of what exactly happens when your horse is scratched.

Scratches can also change Derby odds tremendously on occasion. In the 2019 Kentucky Derby, three days before the race, the favorite – Omaha Beach – was scratched. This dramatically changed other horses’ odds, and it also resulted in many horses changing their gate positions, which also plays into how bettors will pick their ponies. Always be on the lookout for scratches and how to capitalize on them.

Do Online Racebooks Have Mobile Betting Apps?

Online racebooks have so much going on at once, that it's nearly impossible to fit everything into an app without cutting back on some of the features you know and love. Which is why most online racebooks don’t have apps. The better sites, though, have mobile betting sites that can be accessed through your phone or tablet’s browser. These mobile sites are set up exactly like their computer counterparts, so you won’t have to waste time learning a new interface. Because these sites are browser based, they’ll work with every smartphone, not just Apple or Android products.

Can I Make Straight And Exotic Bets From My Phone?

Yes, you can make straight and exotic bets from your phone. The ingenious part of having a mobile site instead of a betting app is that you never miss out on anything, including betting options. No matter if you’re trying to place a simple Win bet, or feel like trying your luck with a Superfecta, you can do so from your phone.

What The Best Way To Fund My Racebook Account?

There are a couple of ways to fund your online racebook account, but the best way is through Bitcoin. This digital currency is quick, simple to use, and doesn’t have any fees associated with it. As an independent currency, BTC transactions don’t need to be approved by a bank, so you’ll never have to deal with a delayed or declined payment. You also won’t have to wait very long for payments to be processed, as it takes only minutes to make a deposit. Bitcoin really is the best way to fund your racebook account.

How Do I Collect My Deposit Bonus?

Deposit bonuses come with something called a rollover requirement. This is the number of times that the bonus must be wagered or “rolled over” before you can collect it. So if you have a bonus with a 5x rollover, you have to bet the total (total = bonus + original deposit amount) five times before you can collect the bonus. So, if you deposit $500 and the bonus is for 50% matching, you’ll receive an extra $250 in your account. That’s $750 that needs to be bet five times, or a total of $3750, before you can take any of it out.

What Is A "Length" In Horse Racing?

A “Length” in horse racing is the measurement of how long a horse is from nose to tail, generally about eight feet. Lengths are used to describe how far behind the competition is after the first horse has crossed the finish line. So when you hear that a horse won by 3 ½ lengths, you know that they won by a distance of about 28 feet.

How Long Is A Furlong?

In horse racing, furlongs are used as units of measure for horse tracks. A furlong is one-eighth of a mile, about 660 feet. Sometimes a track, usually a maidens’ course, isn’t quite long enough to measure in miles. So we use furlongs.

How Many Furlongs Is Churchill Downs?

In horse racing, furlongs are used as units of measure for horse tracks. A furlong is one-eighth of a mile, about 660 feet. Sometimes a track, usually a maidens’ course, isn’t quite long enough to measure in miles. So we use furlongs. The word “furlong” comes from “furrow length,” an old British farming measurement relating to the standard length of a furrow in a single acre of a plowed open field.