Racing Betting in the USA

Online racing betting is legal in most US states due to favorable gaming laws dating back decades. Even to this day, it is surprising to find out just how many people have no idea that it is perfectly legal to bet on races online in the USA. The truth is it has been legal for years.

A piece of federal legislation first introduced in 1978 and then tweaked in 2000 makes online racing betting legal at the national level. Individual states also have the authority to prohibit or regulate the activity as they see fit. A handful of states prohibit all online racing betting, but the majority of states permit it as long as all wagers are placed at betting sites that are licensed and headquartered in the USA.

Best Legal Racing Betting Sites

Betting Site
$20 Free + 100% up to $7518/21+ to Play, T&Cs Apply

Online Horse Racing Betting

We can thank the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 for paving the way for legal online horse racing betting. That law made it legal at the national level for people to bet on races across state lines via off-track betting facilities. The definition of interstate off-track wagers was expanded in 2000 to effectively permit online wagering.

Online racing betting received further legal protections in 2006 when it was specifically exempted from a law (the UIGEA) passed that year intended to crack down on illegal online gambling. Shortly thereafter, the first modern horse racing betting sites went live. Now, the majority of US states permit online horse racing betting.

You can learn more about online horse racing here:

Greyhound Betting

Most people think of horses when they hear the words “racing betting,” but greyhounds remain an option as well. Online greyhound betting is governed by different rules than horse racing, but the basic idea is the same. In states that allow online greyhound betting, fans are free to go online and bet on dog races just the same as they can bet on horse races.

Greyhound betting sites are a little tougher to come by these days due the decline of the sport in general. Greyhound racing has fallen on hard times in recent years due to animal welfare concerns, increased competition for entertainment dollars and unfavorable legislation. Even so, it is still legal to bet on greyhound races online in certain states.

Just ten states allow greyhound races to even take place, and four of those states have no active tracks. Today, there are only six states which have actual races. Even in those states, attendance numbers are poor and most tracks are reliant on a combination of on-track casino games and wagering handle taken over the internet.

You can read more about the state of greyhound betting and how it works at the following link:

States Where Online Racing Betting is Legal Right Now

State-level racing laws can be terribly complicated, so I should warn you that I am not a lawyer. The following lists of states where horse racing betting is legal and illegal are based on my personal research. Each list is the product of my own interpretations of the law and in some cases, I assume racing betting is legal because the major racing betting sites accept customers from that state.

Online racing betting is legal in the following states:


Alabama Arkansas California Colorado
Connecticut Delaware Florida Idaho
Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas
Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Montana
New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York
North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon
Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Dakota Tennessee
Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia
Wisconsin Wyoming

Online racing betting is prohibited in the following states:

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