Betting on horse racing is legal in much of the US. Online wagering is also available in many states, and signing up to bet is quick and easy. You can bet on all of the big races throughout Triple Crown season, including the Belmont Stakes, which takes place June 8. This page covers the best online horse betting sites and information on legally and safely betting on horse racing in your state.

Horse betting apps for 2024

Check below for legal online horse betting options in your area of the US.

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FanDuel Racing review

Sports betting giant FanDuel has expanded its offerings to include horse racing. As is the case with other FanDuel products, the platform delivers a smooth and user-friendly experience. Signing up for an account will generally take just minutes. You can also stream racing coverage right on the platform, and there is a dedicated channel for smart TVs.

FanDuel Racing is available on the web and mobile as a standalone product in California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington. It’s also available and directly integrated with its sportsbook product in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming, and it features a shared wallet for bettors in those markets.

What are the best horse betting sites in the US?

FanDuel Racing: No sweat first bet of up to $500 back if your wager doesn’t win. Click here to sign up, and check out our complete review of FanDuel Racing for more information. If you are located in a hybrid racebook state, you will be offered a $20 no sweat first bet.

How to bet on horse racing

Once you have signed up and deposited, you’ll be ready to place your first bet. There are two parts to the process. First, you need to find your selection and the bet you want to place. Second, add it to your bet slip and confirm the amount you want to wager.

You’ll be able to find your race via the track listings or the timeline of races. You’ll see the horses for each race, with the odds for win and show, plus a toggle for more options. Adding the bet to your slip is as easy as clicking the line you want to bet.

Sites place the bet slip to the right (or via a pop-up message). For single bets, you can add an amount you want to bet and confirm it. For more exotic bets (trifectas, exactas, superfectas), you’ll need to first add all the selections to your slip.

Horse betting apps

Betting on your phone or tablet is easy these days. If you access a horse betting site via your mobile browser, the display will automatically adjust to the smaller screen. The same functionality, including live streaming (if available) and results/stats, will generally be available, allowing you to deposit and place bets while on the move.

Bonus bets, sign-up bonuses

Each of the major sites will offer horse betting bonuses or welcome promotions, though the specifics will vary. Note that these will likely have playthrough requirements and other terms and conditions. Check out our reviews of specific betting sites for more on the fine print.

Terms and conditions apply to all offers. Please see the specific racebook for details. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

2024 Triple Crown schedule

The three biggest horse racing events of the year will take place in May and June and comprise what’s known as the Triple Crown. Here’s the lineup for this season:

Where can you bet on horse races online in the US?

Betting on horse racing online or via a mobile device is not legal in every state. Here are the states that allow the activity:

Some online racebooks serve all of these states, often with wagering on races across the country and even internationally. North Carolina will soon join the above list. Online horse betting has been approved in the state, but the official launch hasn’t happened yet. Where and how you can bet will vary by state. For example, Texas allows wagering on an in-person basis only. Other states, including Georgia and South Carolina, do not permit any form of betting on horse races.

Where can I watch the races?

You’ll have a lot of options when it comes to watching horse racing as it happens, ranging from heading to a nearby track (if available) to viewing a live stream on your phone. Here are the main choices:

If you miss a race, you may find replays available on some betting sites, as well as comprehensive results.

Explore more horse racing options

There are a variety of ways to wager on horses online, including multiple big races throughout the year that offer options for bettors looking to get in on the action.

Horse racing odds and picks

In each race, the amount of money that bettors wager on individual horses determines the odds. These tend to appear as fractions.

For example, if you see 4/1, you’ll stand to win $4 for every $1 you wager (plus your initial bet back) if you end up successful. If you instead see 1/4, this means that for every $4 you bet, you’d stand to win $1 plus your bet back on a successful wager. These “odds-on” selections are when a race has a strong favorite.

Odds for place and show bets 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 its true winning chances can potentially make you money over time.

Online horse betting sites will provide 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.

Understanding the payouts

As we went over above, horse betting odds generally appear in the fractional format. To calculate how much you could potentially win based on the current odds, simply multiply your stake by the odds, then add that stake back in. For example, if you see odds of 6/1 and bet $10, your payout for a winning bet would be 6 x $10 + $10 = $70.

What is fixed odds horse betting?

For standard horse betting, the odds fluctuate from the initial release of morning line odds all the way up to the opening of the starting gates for the race itself. As an example, a bettor may place a wager on an entrant at odds of 5-1, but the line may drop to 2-1 by post time. Winning wagers on that entrant will receive a payout based on the final odds and the total pari-mutuel pool for the race.

Fixed odds bring horse racing betting in line with sports betting. When a bettor places a wager, they are locked in at those odds, regardless of any movement from that point. In February 2024, bet365 released fixed-odds horse betting in Colorado. To date, New Jersey is the only other state to approve fixed odds for horse racing, but there is optimism that its availability will expand to other markets in the future.

Biggest US horse races

There are prestigious events for all types of horse racing, ranging from harness through Arabian horses. When it comes to events that catch the public’s imagination, the Triple Crown takes center stage.

This involves three races for thoroughbreds, each of which has qualifiers to ensure that only the best horses 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.

Other major horse races

How is it legal?

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act has a carveout for horse racing. That leaves it up to individual states whether they want to legalize online wagering on horse races.

Anywhere the platforms above offer wagering, states have enacted laws to allow for online wagering and horse race betting apps.

Virtual horse race betting

If no real races are going on, you can also wager on virtual horse races. These are races that a computer program simulates, and bettors can wager on the outcome. More on virtual sports betting.

However, this is not available 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.

Horse racing breeds

To the majority of people, racehorses look similar. Behind the variations in color and height, you’ll find several distinctive breeds in different races.

Thoroughbred horses: The big races are for thoroughbred horses. While there is a mix of heritage, they can all be traced back to just three fathers born in the 1700s. Those sires were then imported to England, where they established bloodlines that later came to the US.

Standardbred horses: Harness racing uses a different breed — standardbred. These horses can have thoroughbred ancestors, with mixed heritage. This breed tends to be easier to handle than the highly strung thoroughbreds. Standardbred horses take part in showjumping as well as harness/trotting racing.

Arabian horses: While many of today’s races are over short distances, there also are longer endurance-type races. A different breed — Arabian horses — takes part in these contests. Arabian horses are built 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 are mixed breeds that come from Spanish colonial stock. The name comes from the quarter-mile racetrack that was popular in the early days of horse racing.

Horse betting terms

There are a lot of slang terms, abbreviations and distinct language associated with betting on horses. The list below includes the key definitions to get you started.

Blinkers: Also known as “blinders,” these cup-shaped devices cover the eyes of horses, narrowing their field of vision to the track ahead.

Colt: A young male horse (4 years old or younger if a thoroughbred; 3 or younger if a standardbred).

Daily double: A bet that involves picking the winners of two races (usually consecutive).

Furlong: This is a distance measure. For example, a race might be 10 furlongs. A furlong is one-eighth of a mile.

Exacta: This is a bet on the first- and second-place finisher (in the right order).

Filly: A female horse.

Gelding: A male horse that has been sterilized, a common practice that can make unruly horses focus on racing.

Grade: Races are graded on the quality of the horses involved (and purse). Grade 1 races have the best competitors.

Handicap: Many races add weight to the better horses (based on past performance) to level the playing field.

Harness racing: These races involve jockeys in small carts behind the horses.

OTB: This abbreviation stands for off-track betting. In some states, you can place bets at venues that do not have racing of their own.

Post position: The placement of a horse in the starting stalls, which is in relation to the position of the rail.

Pari-mutuel: Bets are pooled, with the payout based on the total wagers and the number of bettors who wager correctly on a specific bet.

Place: A bet on a horse to finish either first or second.

Pick 6: A bet covering the entire race card. Pick bets are sometimes available for three or more races. If no one wins, the prize pool rolls over to the next racing fixture.

Purse: The prize money that a race awards.

Show: A bet on a horse to finish either first, second or third.

Simulcast: Live races appearing on screens at racetracks around the country. You can bet on these races and watch them as they happen.

Superfecta: Bet on the first four finishers of a race in the correct order; this bet has the potential for huge prizes.

Trotting: This form of racing does not allow the horses to break into a gallop.

Triple Crown: To win the Triple Crown, a horse needs to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in the same year.

Trifecta: A bet where you need to predict the first-, second- and third-place finishers of a race in the correct order.

Win: The basic horse racing bet. You try to pick the winner of the race.