Horse racing betting in the United States: is it legal?

Horse Racing is known as the game of kings and it has been a key part of the sporting scene in the United States since the time colonies answered to kings. In the early 20th century, the sport achieved popularity like any other cultural event or sport you can name. Including today, people in the United States follow, attend and wager on horse races at various tracks situated in most parts of the country. 

The enticement of horse racing in the country is bi-fold. Some fans love watching horseracing for the sport of it. They love watching their favourite jockeys and horses try to make a name among the legendary stars of this sport. Others love the sport because of the many wagering opportunities it brings. 

Is horse racing legal in the United States?

Online betting on horse races is legal in most states. Both horseracing and greyhound racing received exemptions from the anti-gambling act that the federal government passed in the year 2006. Several states banned online horse betting but most cities can do the betting online. Here are some of the states where horse betting is lawful and thriving. 

  • New Jersey

New Jersey has been leading the online betting industry. It was among the first few states to legalize and implement online gambling. Without New Jersey, maybe the online betting landscape in the United States would be different today. With many horse racing betting sites, you will always be able to place your bet. 

  • Pennsylvania

Online gambling in Pennsylvania has been expanding rapidly. Many gaming reforms occurred in the year 2017 to allow more types of online gambling that were not available for the residents. Today, you can access many types of online betting sites including horseracing-betting sites. 

  • West Virginia

The Mountain State is a gambling-friendly state offering many online gambling options. It greets you with 4 racetrack casinos, sportsbook in all casinos, state lottery options and historical hotel-casinos. Laws passed in the year 2018 legalized online casinos, online poker and online sport betting on mobile and desktop devices. 

  • Tennessee 

Opportunities in the online gambling environment in Tennessee exceed those in the land-based casinos. The state is against gambling and has no land-based casinos, racetracks or poker rooms. However, it provides many online betting options with horseracing and fantasy sports. In 2019, they legalized mobile sports betting.

  • California

California is the Sangraal when it comes to online horse betting in the United States. With $2 trillion economy, the state allows horseracing gamblers to bet at any of the licensed and properly regulated horse racing betting sites in the country. For added enjoyment, California offers 5 racetracks. 

  • Indiana 

Indiana is another wagering-friendly state with many options in the online and real-world environment. Many casinos across this state launched their sportsbooks in the year 2019 and people can now participate in mobile sports betting.

  • Michigan 

Wolverine State is the home to pari-mutuel horse racing tracks, 23 tribal casinos spread throughout the state and three casinos in Detroit. In this state, you will find numerous online betting options, which range from fantasy sports to skill games and greyhound racing, lottery games and horseracing. The state legalized online betting in the year 2018 and it is thriving.

  • New York 

New York is a pro-gambling state that allows many types of online gambling. The allowed gambling includes greyhound wagering, fantasy sports wagering and online horse betting. Almost every gambling site in the United States accepts players from New York. Moreover, sports betting are lawful at commercial and tribal casinos within the state. 

States where horse betting is illegal 

As we mentioned above, horseracing betting is illegal in some states. If you are in one of the following states, you should visit racetracks in person or visit the nearby states to place your bets. The states include:

  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Texas
  • Nebraska
  • Missouri
  • Georgia
  • Mississippi 
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina

Primitive forms of horseracing existed in the United States as early as 1665 but the sport started taking its shape, as we know it today, in the 19th century. Tracks boasting Thoroughbred racing started springing up at that time throughout the country and the American Jockey Club came into being in the year 1894 – the club oversees all the horseracing events. Unfortunately, many individuals were worried about the problems associated with gambling and tried to end it. 

Introduction of the pari-mutuel wagering in the year 1908 changed everything. The system minimized the risk of horse races rigging and reduced needs for the shady bookies. As that was happening, people were already accepting the major events, especially the Tripple Crown. Today, there are many horse racing events, as there are types of horseracing bets.