Greyhound racing betting is legal in most US states despite the number of active tracks declining significantly in recent years. In most states, customers can bet on greyhounds online through mobile apps developed by licensed betting operators.

There are active greyhound racetracks in just four states today, and even that number is on pace to be cut by half over the near term. A measure to ban greyhound racing in Florida will close seven of the country’s remaining tracks on January 1st, 2021 while the last track in Arkansas says it will close in 2022.

That leaves just Iowa and West Virginia as the last holdouts without immediate plans to close.

Best Greyhound Racing Betting Sites and Apps

Betting Site
New Customers: Bet $50, Get $5018/21+ to Play, T&Cs Apply strongly recommends all readers wager exclusively at greyhound betting sites or mobile apps that are licensed and headquartered in the USA. Most importantly, licensed greyhound betting sites are safe from a legal and financial standpoint.

Additionally, legal greyhound betting sites in the USA have agreements in place with the host track of every race. Online wagers are pooled with those taken in person and fans are paid at full track odds. These agreements also allow legal racebooks to provide live racing video straight from the track free of charge.

Only small number of racebooks are licensed to take wagers on greyhound races, but fortunately, the nation’s most prominent names in racing betting offer greyhound racing betting. These betting sites are well-known, financially suitable and have been in the business for a very long time.

Greyhound Betting Promotions

TVG and BetAmerica offer numerous promotions and rewards in customer signup and retention efforts. One of the first promotions offered to new depositing customers when signing up is a bonus.

Greyhound betting sites offer a variety of promos that change over time. These incentives often include cashback on losses, payouts if your horse comes in second and more.

Greyhound betting was one of the first forms of online betting to be legalized in the United States. This dates back to 2006, when horse and dog racing were specifically exempted from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA).

Individual states retained the authority to opt-out of racing betting, however. Most states decided to allow racing betting, but a handful do not. You can see the full list of states that allow online greyhound betting below.

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So why did horse and dog racing get exemptions from the law? Well, it was most likely a result of political clout. Horse and dog tracks have strong connections with politicians in their states and were able to plead their cases to the powers that be.

Additionally, dog and horse racing tracks rely on betting revenue to stay in business. In some cases, even that isn’t enough (we have seen many tracks of both types go out of business over the past couple of decades). Internet betting was seen as a way to bring increased viewership and wagers to struggling tracks, which in turn hire people and spur the local economy.

What this means for you is that it is legal to bet on greyhounds online and via mobile devices at any of the licensed racebooks listed here.

Greyhound Tracks in the USA

  • Arkansas: 1 track, but set to close in 2022
  • Iowa: 1 track
  • West Virginia: 2
  • Florida: 7, but greyhound racing will be banned beginning January 1st, 2021

The significant decline in active greyhound tracks beginning in 2021 will have a major impact on the industry as a whole, but fans in most states (including Florida) will still be able to bet on greyhound races online at major websites for as long as there are active racetracks anywhere in the United States.

How Greyhound Betting Works

Greyhound betting is a form of parimutuel wagering, in which all wagers of the same type are pooled together. Payouts for each wager are determined based on the amount of money bet on each dog after the house take and taxes have been removed from the pool.

The most important thing to know about parimutuel racing betting is that the odds are not fixed in place, even after you place your wager. The final payout odds are only known after the final bet has been placed.

The advantage of pari-mutuel wagering is that bettors do not compete against the house. The house takes a cut regardless of how the race plays out. Your only competition is the general betting public.

Types of Dog Racing Bets

Betting on greyhounds is almost identical to betting on horses. The same bets and wagers that can be placed on horse races can also be placed on greyhounds. This makes for a nice transition if you’re coming over from horse racing to greyhounds.

There are two main categories that all greyhound bets fall under: straight bets and exotics.

Straight Bets

This is the simplest greyhound racing bet of them all. In a straight bet to win, you pick one dog and you win if that dog takes first place.

This is another bet on a single dog, except this time you win if your dog finishes 1st OR 2nd. This bet is a little easier to win and therefore pays a little less than the straight bet to win.

Again, you bet on a single dog. This time, your bet wins if he finishes anywhere in the top 3. It doesn’t matter if it’s in first, second or third place; your bet still wins.

An across-the-board bet is a combination of the above three wagers. In this one, you pick exactly one dog and place three different bets on that dog: a win bet, a place bet and a show bet.

If your dog comes in first place, you collect on all three bets. If your dog comes in second, you collect only on the place and show bets. If your dog comes in third, you collect only on the show bet.

Exotic Bets

The next set of wagers are collectively known as the “exotics.” Exotics are a little more complex, but they aren’t that bad. If you take a little time to read through them, you won’t have too much trouble getting started with these bets.

Pick two different dogs and you win if they take first and second place. The exact order doesn’t matter as long as both of your dogs finish in the top two places.

Pick two dogs to place first and second place in that exact order.

Pick three dogs to place first, second and third place in that exact order.

Pick four dogs to place first, second, third and fourth place in that exact order.

Pick the first place finishers of two different races. This bet is usually offered on the first two races of the day and you must place it before the first race begins.

Similar to a daily double bet except in this one, you pick the winners of 3 different races. Sometimes you will also see Pick 4s and Pick 6s. Those also have the same basic idea except applied to four or six different races.

Some dog racing tracks offer special jackpots for the Pick 6 bet. A racetrack will set up some type of jackpot that grows each day until one person successfully picks the 1st place finishers of six different races. The rules and exact payouts will vary, but the general idea is that there’s a special, significant payout for getting a Pick 6 right.

A parlay is a chain of bets spread across multiple races. If your first pick wins, the winnings automatically roll over and are applied to the bet on the next race. Parlays are difficult to win but they offer potentially massive prizes.

One of the more advanced betting options in dog racing is to box a quinella, trifecta or superfecta. Boxing comes in handy when you have the sense that several dogs will perform well in a specific race, but you aren’t sure which order those dogs will take.

Let’s say for example that you decide to box a quinella with four dogs. This bet would allow you to pick four different dogs and then you will win if any two of those dogs take first and second place. You can pick anywhere from 3 to 8 dogs, but the more dogs you box, the more expensive the bet becomes.

A keyed bet is similar to a boxed bet in that it allows you to pick multiple dogs. The difference here is that you pick one dog to take first place and then add 3 or more other dogs to take 2nd and 3rd place in no particular order. Your “key” dog must take first place, but the finishing order of the other dogs doesn’t matter.

This is called “keying a trifecta.” You can also key superfecta bets in the same manner. In a superfecta key, you pick one dog to take 1st and then three or more dogs to take 2nd, 3rd and 4th in no particular order. The main thing to keep in mind here is that the key dog MUST take first place; the remaining dogs can finish in any order.

Mobile and Simulcast Options

TVG and BetAmerica both have a nice simulcast system for watching live greyhound races. All you need is an account and you can watch the races in real-time. You do not need to bet or even fund your account. Sign up, log in and you can watch every race.

How Dog Races Work

Greyhound racing is similar to Thoroughbred and Harness racing, except that dogs are used in place of horses and jockeys.

The greyhound race track itself is a very simple course, usually an oval or circular dirt track. The greyhound track is fenced in on the outside with a special rail running along the inside of the course. There is a belt attached to the rail equipped with a mechanical lure that the greyhounds are trained to chase, encouraging them to race.

On the outside of the track is the place where the race spectators sit, the vast majority of whom are bettors watching the results of the race to see if they’ve won. Along the bottom wall of the spectator area are a series of betting stalls or bookie counters, where live greyhound race betting takes place.

The average greyhound track has a series of crates or cubicles on the starting line. These crates, as they are most commonly-known in the industry, are where the dogs sit and wait for the race to begin. For the ease of betting, the number on the jackets worn by the racing dogs is in sharp contrast to the color of the dog’s jacket, and numbers are consistent across all greyhound courses: number 1 is red, number 2 is blue, number 3 is white, number 4 is black, number 5 is orange, and number 6 is white with black stripes. Depending on the number of dogs in the race or course traditions, numbers and colors may vary, but generally the above descriptions are standard no matter where the race takes place.

How the Greyhound Race Works

The beginning of every greyhound race is the release of the mechanical lure; once the crates or “traps” are opened, the greyhounds are trained to chase the lure and are tracked until they cross the finish line. The first dog to cross it is the overall winner. Certain bets also depend on which dogs comes in second, third, fourth, etc.

Because each greyhound course is a little different, each track will have slight variations to dimensions and arrangements for the races. No specific dimensions are required by the governing bodies of greyhound racing, but an average of known greyhound tracks gives dimensions as follows:

The track is usually about 26 or 27 feet wide. There are three standard track lengths: 900 feet, 1066 feet, 1560 feet, and the largest of all at about 1700 feet.

Industry Controversy

There’s a bit of controversy surrounding the greyhound industry. On one side, we have animal rights groups who claim that greyhound racing fosters an inhumane environment for dogs. On the other side, we have industry supporters who claim that greyhounds are well-trained, well-cared for and taken care of after they retire.

Groups such as the ASPCA and the Humane Society claim that the competitive greyhound racing industry incentivizes mass breeding of greyhounds for the sole purpose of getting just one winner. The remainders are given away, killed or sold.

These groups also claim that greyhounds are stuffed into crowded kennels all day, forced to wear their muzzles and are generally only given the minimum amount of treatment necessary to produce winning runners.

Pro-greyhound groups such as the Greyhound Racing Association of America (GRA) claim that greyhound breeding has been significantly reduced and that they have become much more successful at finding homes for dogs that can’t race well enough to satisfy owners.

And as far as the treatment of animals, pro-greyhound groups constantly remind us that you can’t just beat a dog and stuff it in a kennel all day and expect it to even learn how to run around a track. These groups explain that dogs must be trained, exercised, played-with and coaxed just like all other well-trained animals. They say that abuse is overemphasized by radical animal rights groups.

In any case, it seems time for reform is growing short. In the November 2018 mid-term elections, Florida voters approved a referendum to ban all greyhound racing in the state. The passage of that measure will result in more than half of America’s total greyhound race tracks closing on January 1st, 2021.