Legal US Online Horse Racing Bets

Are online horse racing bets legal in the US? Find out about horse racing laws in America and legal wagering in this guide.

Want to know whether betting on online horse racing is legal in the US? Find out about legal wagering and horse racing laws in this guide.

Did you know that it’s legal to place internet bets on horse races in many US states? Although the law can be confusing and rules vary from state to state, the good news is that legal wagering is available in many parts of the country. In fact, online horse racing bets are protected at a federal level by the Interstate Horseracing Act, which for years made horse racing the only sport you could legally bet on via the internet. Find out about the specific US laws governing online horse betting in this guide.

The Wire Act 1961

The Wire Act was established when sports betting in the US was only legal in Las Vegas, so the law was devised to stop people making bets by phone from other parts of the country. Since there was no internet in 1961 when the Act was established, it doesn’t cover betting online and hasn’t been used to prosecute anyone.


The Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978

Passed by congress in 1978, the Interstate Horseracing Act (IHA) makes interstate wagering on horse racing legal at a federal level. Although the law was made before the internet, an amendment to the act in 2000 stated that it was legal to bet on horse races at home if state law allows it. To be safe, you should use reputable websites for legal wagering that are licensed and regulated within the US.

One example of a regulated licensed site where online bets may be placed for horse racing is

There are other sites which one could potentially make use of, however this is a trusted source which has been personally vetted.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006 blocked financial institutions that helped online bettors deposit money into offshore online poker websites. However, it did not apply to legal, licensed and American-based online horse betting sites, which are protected under the IHA. The UIGEA in fact specifically states that: “It shall not change which activities related to horse racing may or may not be allowed under federal law… the term ‘unlawful internet gambling’ shall not include any activity that is allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978’”.

Legal Horse Racing States in the US

Be aware that the IHA makes online wagering for horse racing legal at a federal level, but each state has its own laws you must abide by. Here’s a list of the states where it’s currently legal to place internet bets on horse races:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming


The states where online horse racing bets are not currently legal are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Be aware that laws are always changing so you should be responsible for keeping up to date with the rules regarding online horse betting in your state, as well as gambling ages, to enjoy legal wagering on horse races.

This is not legal advice, please consult a lawyer in your state to be sure of your rights about online wagering on horse races.