Online horse race betting is the oldest form of online gambling in the US. Off-track betting (OTB) parlors, the original form of mobile horse race betting, originated in Nevada. Now, bettors across the US have access to horse betting without having to leave home to visit a race track or an OTB.
The first OTB parlors outside Nevada began to appear in New York in 1970. OTB facilities offer bettors the opportunity to place bets into pari-mutuel betting pools across state lines, on races around the country.
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The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 officially legalized OTB parlors in the US. An amendment to the act in 2000 put language in place legalizing internet-based mobile horse race betting.
Several mobile apps offer legal online horse racing bets in the modern era. TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica lead the pack as the three biggest brands in mobile horse race betting.
|Mobile Horse |
Race Betting Site
|States Active||Bonus Offers|
|TVG Horse Racing||Legal in more than 30 states||$200 Risk-Free Bet|
|TwinSpires||Legal in more than 30 states||$100 Sign-Up Bonus|
|BetAmerica||Legal in more than 30 states||100% Deposit Match up to $100|
TVG operates as both a 24-hour television network dedicated to horse racing and a mobile horse race betting site. TVG stands for “Television Games Network.” It began operations in 1999.
The TVG Horse Racing website and mobile app gives bettors access to a pair of 24-hour television channels dedicated to horse race handicapping. TVG also allows bettors to wager on races at more than 100 domestic and international racetracks.
TVG operates legally in 33 states, including California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.
Originally an outlet founded by the owners of TV Guide magazine, the British sports betting company Betfair purchased TVG Horse Racing in 2008. TVG operates in the US under the banner of the FanDuel Group, a US subsidiary of Flutter Entertainment (formerly known as Paddy Power Betfair).
Bettors can download TVG as a mobile app for iOS and Android devices or enjoy the platform’s betting and television services from a desktop browser.
New players can get a risk-free $200 rebate on their first bet at TVG if the bet results in a loss.
The BetAmerica brand operates an online casino, sportsbook, and horse race betting sites in several states. BetAmerica Horse Racing is hosted on a standalone platform.
Founded in 2008, BetAmerica allows mobile horse race betting on races from across the US. Select international racetracks in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Sweden also offer betting opportunities on the BetAmerica platform.
Bettors in 35 US states can legally access and place bets on the BetAmerica Horse Racing platform. Major markets like California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois represent a few of the states in which BetAmerica operates legally.
Churchill Downs Incorporated operates two of the three major mobile horse racing platforms in the US (BetAmerica and TwinSpires). Churchill Downs purchased BetAmerica in 2017.
New bettors can earn a 100% deposit match bonus, up to $100. Bettors can access BetAmerica on a desktop browser or downloaded as a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
The origin of the TwinSpires mobile horse racing platform dates back to 2007. Churchill Downs Incorporated acquired a pair of horse race handicapping sites and consolidated them into one brand, now known as TwinSpires.
TwinSpires legally operates in 30 states, including Pennsylvania, California, New York, and Massachusetts. Bettors can wager on races from venues across the US, as well as selected overseas racetracks in the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and several other countries.
The official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby, TwinSpires is named after the twin spires seen at the Churchill Downs racetrack. The racetrack hosts the annual Kentucky Derby, the most famous horse racing event in the world.
TwinSpires can be downloaded as a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices, or accessed from a desktop browser. New bettors can take advantage of a $100, no-deposit sign-up bonus.
Pari-mutuel betting puts all of the money wagered by bettors on a race into a single payout pool. The money from the pool is then divided among winners, minus the vigorish, or “juice,” taken by the venue that offers the bet.
This kind of wagering pits bettors against each other, compared to traditional fixed-odds bets where bettor wager against the house. Pari-mutuel betting is by far the most common wagering style in horse racing.
Single horse bets involve wagering on one particular horse to finish in a certain place in a race.
These wagers allow for bets on whether a horse will finish first (win), first or second (place), or anywhere in the top three (show). Odds on a single horse bet are always higher for “win” bets.
Multiple horse bets attempt to predict where two or more horses finish in a given race.
Bets in this category include:
For a multiple race bet to win, a chosen horse must win two or more consecutive races. These bets include Daily Double (two wins in a row), Pick 3 (three consecutive wins), and so on.
Risk-free bet bonuses offer a rebate on the first bet made at a mobile horse race betting platform. This kind of bonus is also commonly offered at online casinos and sportsbooks.
Risk-free bets guarantee a refund on an individual wager, but only if that bet results in a loss.
At TVG, for example, new players can take advantage of a $200 risk-free bet offer. Using this offer, new bettors place their first wager at TVG and are eligible for up to a $200 rebate in the event of a loss.
The refund amount matches the total of the original wager, up to a $200 cap. A $100 bet, for example, would result in a $100 refund in the case of a loss. A $500 bet would be eligible for the maximum refund amount of $200.
At TVG, the first bet must be made within 15 days of the first deposit to be eligible for the risk-free bet offer.
TwinSpires offers a sign-up bonus for new players that register for an account on the platform.
After signing up, new players earn up to $100 in sign-up bonus money. To unlock the bonus, bettors must wager $500 within 30 days of registration.
The $500 can be wagered as a single bet, or across multiple wagers, to earn the bonus.
Deposit match offers award bonus money that matches a certain percentage of the first deposit on a mobile wagering platform. This kind of bonus is widely offered across multiple online gambling sites.
BetAmerica offers a 100% match bonus up to $100 for new players making their first deposit at the site. Most deposit match bonuses require a set amount of playthrough, or money wagered, to unlock the bonus.
The BetAmerica bonus carries a 10x playthrough requirement. Bettors must wager $1,000 total within 30 days of the first deposit to unlock the full $100 bonus.
Churchill Downs annually hosts the Kentucky Derby, horse racing’s biggest event. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, the facility opened in 1875.
The Kentucky Derby also started running at the track in 1875. While the Kentucky Derby is the most famous event held at Churchill Downs, the legendary racetrack also hosts numerous events throughout the year.
Churchill Downs held 33 different graded stakes races (events recognized by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association) in 2019. In addition to the Kentucky Derby, the racetrack also hosts major events like the Kentucky Oaks and Churchill Downs Stakes.
One of the oldest and most revered racetracks in the US, Saratoga Race Course opened in 1863 in Saratoga, New York. A gambling game in which players bet against the dealer crossword. Nicknamed “The House of Upsets” and “The Graveyard of Champions,” the venue plays host to some of the biggest upsets in horse racing history.
Man O’ War, considered one of horse racing’s all-time greatest thoroughbreds, suffered his only career loss at Saratoga Race Course in 1919.
Saratoga Race Course hosts 38 graded stakes events annually. The Travers Stakes, the oldest major thoroughbred race in the US, runs at the venue each summer.
Located just outside Los Angeles, California, Santa Anita Park is unparalleled in the number of major races it hosts annually. No less than 80 graded stakes races take place each year at the venerable track.
The Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Handicap run annually as two of the most prestigious events at the venue. The Breeders Cup, one of horse racing’s biggest series, has run at Santa Anita Park ten times.
Belmont Park annually hosts the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown. The Triple Crown marks the ultimate achievement in US horse racing. The Belmont Stakes is considered to be the toughest of the three races that comprise the Triple Crown.
The 1 ½ mile track at Belmont Park is one of the longest in US horse racing. Located just outside New York City, Belmont Park opened in 1905.
The Belmont Stakes is one of more than 50 graded stakes races that run annually at Belmont Park.
Del Mar Racetrack lies right along the beach in San Diego County, California. The picturesque racetrack opened in 1936, with Bing Crosby as one of the venue’s founders.
The Bing Crosby Stakes runs annually at Del Mar Racetrack as one of the most prestigious events on the calendar. Del Mar racetrack hosts nearly 30 graded stakes races throughout the year.
Del Mar Racetrack hosted the Breeders Cup for the first time in 2017.
The three races that comprise the Triple Crown are the most popular horse racing events in the US. Legal mobile horse race wagering apps allow bettors in more than 30 states the opportunity to legally bet on the Triple Crown races.
The Kentucky Derby stands atop the list of the most famous and prestigious horse races in the US. Nicknamed “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” the Kentucky Derby forms the first leg of the American Triple Crown.
Since 1875, the Kentucky Derby has run every year at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The race traditionally takes place on the first Saturday in May and is the highest-attended horse race in the US.
The second stage of the Triple Crown commences at the annual Preakness Stakes. The race generally takes place two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, on the third Saturday in May.
Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, annually hosts The Preakness Stakes.
Considered the toughest race of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes usually runs in June, three weeks after the Preakness Stakes.
The Belmont Stakes is hosted annually at Belmont Park in New York.
US bettors aren’t just limited to domestic events on legal mobile horse race betting apps. Many prestigious events from around the world are at the fingertips of US bettors.
Held each October in Paris, France, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is considered one of Europe’s most prestigious horse races. Longchamp Racecourse hosts the event.
Great Britain’s flagship horse race, the Derby Stakes, commences each June from Epsom Downs in Epsom, Surrey, England.
This legendary race first ran in 1780. Many other races around the world, including the Kentucky Derby, take their name from the Derby Stakes.
An annual weeklong series held each June, the Royal Ascot is often attended by the British Royal Family. The prestige of the series is unmatched and takes place from Ascot Racecourse each year.
Off-track betting (OTB) parlors, the predecessor to modern online horse betting, were legalized in 1978. The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 contained language to explicitly legalize interstate wagering on horse racing.
A 2000 amendment to the Act legalized internet-based horse race betting. Though many forms of online gambling have faced legal hurdles in the US, online horse race betting is currently legal in more than 30 states.
Horse racing in the US traces its roots to the early 1800s. The tradition of horse racing in England carried over into American settlements.
Some of the earliest vestiges of modern-day horse race betting in the US still stand today. Saratoga Race Course opened in 1863, and the upstate New York venue is still one of the most hallowed horse racing venues in the US.
All three races making up the American Triple Crown debuted by 1875. Betting on horse racing has long been synonymous with the sport itself in the US. By 1900 more than 300 horse racing facilities were open for betting around the country.
Pari-mutuel betting was introduced in the US in the early 1900s and is still the most common method of horse race betting used today.
A total of 32 US states currently offer legal pari-mutuel betting. OTB parlors sprang up in New York in the 1970s, which allowed bettors to engage in a form of online pari-mutuel betting.
The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 legalized OTB facilities, and in 2000 an amendment was added to the act expressly legalizing the use of the internet for off-track betting.
The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 effectively outlawed all internet-based gambling transactions that crossed state lines.
The UIGEA, however expressly allows an exemption for online horse race betting. The federal government permits individual states to enforce their own legislation on online horse race betting.
Nearly 40 states allow mobile horse race betting in some form. Horse race wagers are the only form of online gambling transactions allowed to cross state lines in the US.
Legal, regulated online horse race betting platforms in the US include brands like TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica. Several other mobile horse race betting apps operate in the US.
Bettors should use caution and research mobile betting apps thoroughly to determine if they’re legally operating sites. Government agencies regulate all legal platforms. This ensures a secure experience for the bettor and accountability for the operating betting service.
Betting apps like TwinSpires and TVG are owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated and the FanDuel Group, respectively. These multi-billion dollar companies operate with a vested interest in providing prompt payouts, safe betting, and security of personal information.
Offshore betting platforms do not operate under the same level of regulation as legal betting sites. Betting at an offshore site does not offer the security of wagering on a legal platform. Offshore sites operate in the US illegally, and as such betting on these sites is also illegal.
One of the fastest ways to get funds on an online horse racing site is through ACH/eCheck deposit. This method draws directly from a bank account as an electronic check, and the funds usually become available instantly.
The ACH/eCheck deposit method is known as BetCash, Telecheck, and ECash at various horse race betting sites. Some sites occasionally reject the ACH/eCheck method but is still the most widely accepted deposit method at legal online gambling sites.
Most online horse race betting sites allow deposits using a Visa or Mastercard debit/credit cards. These deposits can sometimes be rejected by the issuing bank, but when it does work the funds are instantly available on the betting account.
Some betting sites charge fees for using debit/credit cards for deposits. Credit card deposits are also subject to cash advance fees from the issuing bank.
PayPal deposits provide one of the most reliable ways to put money on a mobile horse racing balance. The PayPal process takes a few extra steps compared to some other methods.
PayPal deposits have a nearly 100% success rate, and the funds become instantly available on a betting account.
PayNearMe allows players to deposit at participating 7-Eleven locations. GreenDot Moneypak offers a similar service at participating Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Safeway Kroeger locations.
Both of these methods come with fees, and bettors should only use these deposit methods as a last resort.
No. Individual states can decide to legalize online horse race betting if they choose to do so. Online horse race betting is legal in some form in more than 30 states. Bettors in those states can access legal platforms like TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica.
States that outlaw online horse race betting include Nevada, Texas, Missouri, and others.
18 or 21, depending on the state. The minimum age for legal online horse race betting is 18 in most US states, but 21 in a few others.
The minimum age of 21 applies to Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, and Washington. In all other states with legal online horse race betting, the minimum age is 18.
Yes. Mobile horse race betting sites use geolocation technology to determine a user’s location at the time of making a bet. States allow betting only within the borders of states with legalized mobile horse race betting.
Horse race betting in the US is offered through pari-mutuel betting pools. Pari-mutuel betting puts all wagers on a race into a single pool, with payouts divided among all winning tickets.
The payout on a particular horse can go up or down based on how bets are divided across all participating horses in a race.
Mobile platforms like TVG operate as both horse race betting sites and streaming video services. In many cases, bettors wager on a race and then watch the race on the same platform in which they made the bet.
Pari-mutuel betting pools determine the odds set on horse racing in the US. Bettor activity on a race can make the odds on particular bets go up or down.
Yes. Mobile horse race betting is legal in more than 30 US states. Betting on the Kentucky Derby online is legal in all of these states, as long as bettors place the wager on a legal mobile horse race betting platform.
TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica are the three biggest legal online horse race betting platforms.
Yes. TVG operates legally in more than 30 US states. The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 legalized off-track betting (OTB), the predecessor to modern online horse race betting.
An amendment to the act in the year 2000 explicitly legalized internet-based mobile horse race betting. The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) outlawed internet gambling transactions that cross state lines, but made an exception for horse race betting.
Yes. BetAmerica is one of three major legal mobile horse racing platforms operating in the US. Churchill Downs Incorporated owns the BetAmerica brand.
Bettors must be located in one of approximately 30 states in which BetAmerica legally operates to place a bet.
Yes. Churchill Downs Incorporated owns TwinSpires, which is legal in more than 30 US states.
Picking the best sportsbook sign-up bonus can be difficult as no two welcome bonus offers are exactly the same.
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Read on for a catch-all guide on the best sportsbook bonuses.
|Sportsbook||Bonus Details||Get Bonus|
|Bovada||50% bonus up to $250 – This bonus has a very reasonable 5x rollover with few restrictions, and is offered by one of the best overall sportsbooks, making it our top pick.||Visit Site|
|SportsBetting.ag||50% match bonus up to $1,000 – This bonus has a bigger maximum amount if you are going to make a larger deposit.||Visit Site|
|GTbets||100% bonus up to $500 – 100% match bonuses are becoming less common so take advantage while it lasts. Note that there is a $35 minimum deposit.||Visit Site|
When deciding which sportsbooks have the best overall sign-up sportsbook bonuses, we analyze the all bonuses offered, in addition to the terms and conditions they are subject to. In short, we look at the bigger picture.
To come up with our list of the best overall bonuses, we made sure that both the benefits and restrictions, taken together, made our top picks superior to those offered by competing sportsbooks. In short, we selected the sign-up bonus offers that are greater than the sum of their parts.
On all bonuses, sportsbooks impose a wagering requirement, also known as “rollover.” This refers to the amount of money you have to bet at your sportsbook before you can withdraw your bonus funds. For more information on rollover, check out our guide on all things related to bonuses.
Most frequently, the higher the dollar amount of the bonus, the higher the rollover requirements. The smaller the bonus, the smaller the rollover rate will be. With this in mind, the best overall sportsbook bonuses above have lower rollover requirements than the bonuses for bigger deposits below.
|Sportsbook||Bonus Details||Get Bonus|
|BetOnline||50% up to $1,000 – Try this bonus on for size if you are going to deposit up to $1,000. BetOnline is an excellent sportsbook with a long history in the business.||Visit Site|
|SportsBetting.ag||50% up to $1,000 – Sportsbetting.ag has reduced their match bonus but it’s still a great offer and is food up to $1,000 for a deposit.||Visit Site|
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his list ranks sportsbook sign-up bonuses for people putting high dollar amounts into their betting accounts. This is arguably the biggest incentive to join a sportsbook, and an important factor if you’re looking to make a big splash in the world of sports betting.
Sign-Up Bonuses are sometimes called Welcome Bonuses or Initial Deposit Bonuses. These are all the same and refer to bonuses for new players.
|Sportsbook||Bonus Details||Get Bonus|
|Bovada||50% up to $500 – Bovada ups the max bonus from their regular bonus if you deposit with Bitcoin. The low 5x rollover still applies, making it one of the best Bitcoin bonuses.||Visit Site|
|BetOnline||50% up to $1,000 – BetOnline has the same great match bonus for Bitcoin deposits of 50%.||Visit Site|
Many sportsbooks now accept Bitcoin as a payment method. Using Bitcoin is just as advantageous for you as it is for your sportsbook. As a result, many sportsbooks are offering Bitcoin-specific bonuses to incentivize their bettors to use the digital currency.
Bitcoin bonuses mainly come in the form of deposit bonuses and reload bonuses. In both cases, Bitcoin bonuses will be a significantly higher percentage of your deposit. This applies either at sign-up or when you re-up.
We look at the bigger picture when assessing Bitcoin bonuses. We factor in in the dollar amount, types of bonuses, and rollover rates that come with Bitcoin bonuses. In addition, we consider how many restrictions, if any, are placed on the types of sports bets you can make with your Bitcoin.
If you are looking for more than what’s available in the lists above, check out our dedicated page that lists 100% sportsbook sign-up bonuses.
There are a whole host of factors you have to consider in the process of picking the best bonus for you. A first-time bettor has many different considerations than a seasoned “sharp.” Always factor in your unique sports betting goals and what sportsbook suits your needs when choosing a bonus.