How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby Legally from Almost Anywhere in the USA

The 2018 Kentucky Derby is just around the corner and soon many millions of dollars will change hands as horse racing fans across the country do their best to predict which of these twenty horses with the funny names will be the first to gallop home across the finish line.

If you won’t be among the crowd soaking in the sun and downing mint juleps in person, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the betting action. In most states, you can bet on the Kentucky Derby online from the comfort of home using a website that is legal, licensed and legitimate.

Legal Kentucky Derby Betting Sites

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With the Run for the Roses quickly approaching, now is the time to get prepared. To that end, I have put together a basic getting started guide that covers all the basics such as finding a legal place to bet on the Kentucky Derby online and explaining the basic types of bets that will be on offer.

If you think you would like to bet on the Kentucky Derby, now is the time to find a betting site and make a deposit. It can take some time for betting sites to process your first deposit and verify your identity. To avoid disaster on race day, it would be best to sign up for an account and make a deposit sooner rather than later so you can be ready to go on Derby Day.

2018 Kentucky Derby Date, Time and Where to Watch

The Kentucky Derby will make its 144th run at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, May 5th at 6:34 PM ET. There will actually be two days of big racing on Kentucky Derby weekend beginning Friday the 4th.


  • Friday, May 4th: Kentucky Oaks
  • Saturday, May 5th: Kentucky Derby


  • Kentucky Derby: 6:34 PM ET

Watch It On TV

  • Pre-Race Coverage: 12 PM ET to 2:30 PM ET on NBCSN
  • Kentucky Derby Coverage: 2:30 PM ET to 7:20 PM ET on NBC

Watch It Online

  • Live stream at the TwinSpires website with an account and a bet
  • Live stream at the BetAmerica website with an account and a bet

Where to Bet on the Kentucky Derby Online

Her are my two top recommendations for anyone interested in betting on the 2018 Kentucky Derby online.


Welcome bonus: 100% up to $100 for new customers was established in 2008 and is also licensed in the USA. Although BetAmerica lacks the distinction of being the official 2018 Kentucky Derby betting site, it is still a solid place to bet online. BetAmerica offers customers a clean and very easy-to-use interface, frequent promotions and live racing video (including the Kentucky Derby).

The BetAmerica website does not list all states from which it accepts customers and their customer support people also refuse to give out that information (annoying), so the only way to figure out if they accept customers from your state is to attempt to sign up for an account. The good news is BetAmerica has traditionally accepted signups from most states so the odds are good you’ll be able to bet on the Kentucky Derby here, even if you were unable to sign up at TwinSpires.

Click here to visit


Welcome bonus: Get up to $100 after signing up and making your first deposit. is the official online betting home of the Kentucky Derby. In fact, it is owned and operated by Churchill Downs Inc. The people at TwinSpires understand horse racing inside-out and know what customers value when it comes to betting on horses.

TwinSpires is licensed to accept wagers from customers in 30 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Click here to visit

Is it legal to bet on horse races online?

As long as your state does not prohibit online horse racing betting, you’re welcome to test your handicapping skills with the 2018 Kentucky Derby. The legality of other forms of online gambling rests in a complicated legal grey area, but online horse racing is cut-and-dry. Individual states have the power to decide for themselves if online racing is legal or not, and most states have

Last year’s Run for the Roses set a new betting record as it attracted nearly $210 million worth of bets, and not all of that was placed in-person at the track. In fact, the vast majority of the wagers that go into the official Kentucky Derby betting pools are not taken at the track.

Last year’s race, for example, took in just shy of $22 million at the track while hauling in $209,179,920 wagers from all sources. A good chunk of that leftover is taken at local off-track betting facilities across the country and another big chunk is taken via legal horse racing betting sites headquartered in the USA.

It never fails to surprise me every year is how many people are completely unaware that they can bet on the Kentucky Derby online legally from most states in the USA. Being so wrapped up in the industry myself, it’s easy to forget that most people simply don’t realize racing is the one form of online sports betting that is already legal in the United States.

Churchill Downs has done amazing work marketing its iconic race as the biggest and most prestigious event in horse racing to see and be seen, they have not done as good of a job spreading the word that the big event can be bet on from the comfort of home in most states.

The 160,000+ people who visit Churchill Downs each year on Kentucky Derby weekend are not the only ones who can bet on the Kentucky Derby. There’s also Vegas, of course, but even that’s not the extent of it. Residents of at least 35 states may also bet on the Kentucky Derby online at legal and licensed horse racing sites such as Churchill Downs’ own

Getting Started

Online racing sites have streamlined the getting started process significantly in an effort to appeal to experienced handicappers and newbies alike. Getting started is as simple as choosing one of the above horse racing sites and signing up for an account. There are other sites to choose from as well, but BetAmerica and TwinSpires are by far my two favorites.

Make sure to use real information as you register so you can be paid if you win. My advice at this point is to go ahead and make a deposit now if you’re planning to bet on the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Funding your account now will give you a little breathing room just in case you have any issues depositing.

1. Make a Deposit

Visa and MasterCard are accepted by most racing betting sites, but not all credit and debit card deposits are successful. Some issuing banks automatically block transactions to outdated policies. If you have any problems depositing with a card, you can also deposit with a bank transfer to have the money delivered to and from your bank account.

Another option is to deposit physical cash using PayNearMe or Green Dot MoneyPak options available at both sites. With PayNearMe and Green Dot, you can take cash to your nearest 7-Elevent, Walgreens and other convenience stores to fund your account with actual cash. TwinSpires and BetAmerica will walk you through the process.

2. Place a Bet on the Kentucky Derby

One of the nice things about the Kentucky Derby is that it generates huge wagering pools for wagers of all types and you’ll have no trouble finding action for all different types of bets. The options are endless, but the best thing for new handicappers to do is to keep things simple and straightforward.

One important thing to keep in mind is that legal horse racing betting is conducted in the parimutuel format. This means all wagers are pooled together and payouts are determined by the number of bets and amount bet on each horse. The odds you see listed for horse races online are not firm – that’s just a sort of estimate based on current action. The odds will continue to change as race day draws nearer.

These are the most basic types of bets you’ll find at Kentucky Derby betting sites.

  • Win: The most straightforward wager of all. Pick a horse and get paid if he wins. Whenever you see websites listing the odds of certain horses, they are referring to the payouts of straight up win bets.
  • Place: This one gives you a little more wiggle room. A place bet pays if your horse finishes in 1st or 2nd
  • Show: This bet wins if your horse finishes anywhere in the top 3

These three types of bets are not horribly difficult to win but offer decent payouts depending on the horses involved. You can also go for higher risk, higher reward payouts with the following wagers.

  • Exacta: Correctly predict the 1st and 2nd place horses in that exact order
  • Trifecta: Correctly predict the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place horses in that exact order
  • Superfecta: Correctly predict the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place horses in that exact order

Read to bet?

Visit BetAmerica today to sign up for an account and get up to $100 in welcome bonus money.