Online Horse Betting in Pennsylvania 2022

Online horse betting PA is easy to explore thanks to numerous excellent sites, betting apps and venues that offer wagering opportunities. PA horse race betting online is legal and secure via highly reputable racebooks that cover fixtures from within the great commonwealth and beyond. The following explores some of the best features and races in Pennsylvania racing.

Where to bet on horses online in PA

There are plenty of options for online horse betting in Pennsylvania. The state introduced legalized sports betting both in the retail world and via PA online horse betting in 2017, and the Keystone State was the fourth state in the US to embrace legalized online gambling.

That was not an overnight decision, as talks had gone on for more than four years between lawmakers. But following on from New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada to promote legalized sports betting, Pennsylvania horse race betting took off.

Therefore, bettors in the commonwealth can bet in person with OTB (off-track betting) in Pennsylvania and at tracks within the state and online, which has been a game-changer.

PA horse race betting online is safe and legal when done at trusted and highly reputable online platforms. Some of the most popular PA online horse betting sites are TVG / PABets, DRF Bets and Twinspires.

To get started with any online horse racing betting site in Pennsylvania, you must be at least 18 years of age. For registration at any of the best online horse betting sites in PA, an address, verified ID and a payment method to fund a betting account and make bets will be required.

Most sites will have a variety of payment methods available. Not all will offer the same range and operate with the same deposit limits and charges. Still, credit cards, debit cards, wire transfers, check and, in some instances, e-wallets like PayPal are standard forms of deposit methods for horse racing betting in PA.

When registering an account, something to look out for is ensuring that the site is fully licensed. Betting doesn’t just have to be at a PA-based racebook. Off-shore betting sites also offer plenty of legal and secure wagering opportunities on horse racing and PA sports betting, plus allowing access to online casinos.

When signing up for an account, there are a lot of promotion bonuses that online betting sites push to entice customers. These can be valid ways of picking up a bonus where applicable, but always thoroughly check the terms and conditions of any horse racing offer.

Advantages of online vs brick-and-mortar horse betting

In the state, bettors can go to a track to bet on the horses, do OTB (off-track betting) in Pennsylvania or get online via a computer or mobile betting app and place bets. Is there any real advantage or disadvantage between the different forms of betting?

The betting process will be the same, whether in person or via an online service. But there are some clear advantages to getting online and betting on the horses, as opposed to doing it in person at a brick and mortar location like a casino.

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Convenience is the first advantage of online horse racing betting PA over in-person betting. With a brick and mortar location, it may not be open 24/7, whereas an online sportsbook or horse racing betting site will continuously be there as soon as you open the site or app.

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The other factor of convenience is travel. Distance to a brick and mortar place may not be within range, and even a 10-minute drive would still consume gas and time for a round trip.

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Other reasons online horse race betting may be advantageous are features and promotions that the racebook can provide. An example is a sign-up bonus offer that can be collected when completing the registration process with such a betting site.

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It's not uncommon to see horse racing sites in PA offer general horse racing promotions like rebates and money back specials. So there are commonly some extra perks to be considered online.

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Another positive aspect of online horse race bets is doing things at your own pace. Unlike walking up to a teller and stating your bet at the window, looking at an online racecard, you can click an option, change it, add in selections from other races or build race exotics without going through the stress of betting at the teller.

So there are some advantages to consider for PA horse betting online, and other factors like updated odds, tracking races and even catching a live stream of a race in the comfort of your own home are big additional pluses.

Pennsylvanian race tracks

There is an excitement and thrill in being trackside and watching the horses. Residents of the commonwealth are fortunate to have access to some brilliant tracks. Here are some of the options to enjoy in the state of PA.

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Penn National Race Course - Penn National Race Course in Granville, PA, hosts live thoroughbred racing all year round. The track is a one-mile oval with a 7f turf course. Penn National was opened in the early 1970s, and it features some top races like The Pennsylvania Governor's Cup, The Missy Good Stakes and the Blue Mountain Juvenile Stakes.

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Parx Racing - Parx Racing is located in Bensalem, PA and throughout the calendar year, it hosts thoroughbred racing. The main track at Parx Racing is a 1-mile oval. In addition, the track features both a 7f and a 1 1/4 mile chute. Formerly known as Keystone Racetrack, when it opened in 1974, Parx Racing plays host to the PA Derby and Pennsylvania Derby Day is one of the biggest horse racing days in the commonwealth, with nine Stakes races.

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Presque Isle Downs - There is a thoroughbred season at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, PA, that runs from May through to October. The main track is a 1m mile on the Tapeta, the first track to have that surface in the USA. One of the biggest races hosted there is the Presque Isle Down Masters Stakes.

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The Meadows -Horse racing at The Meadows in the greater Pittsburgh area happens all year round. The track opened in 1963, and this is a 5/8 miles oval (1006 m) with harness racing popular there on a surface of stone dust. The biggest race hosted there is the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids (ADIOS Pace), held in August. The venue was the first parimutuel betting venue in the state. Other tracks in the state are The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack.

Online racing betting is very similar in format to in-person bets. However, for horse racing betting, when walking up to the teller, there is a standard set of details to list when you want to make a bet. That will be nominating the track, race number, stake, type of wager, and your selected horse number.

An example is “Penn National, Race Three, $50 to Win on number four.”

Venues do have self-service machines available for horse race bets, and the process is similar. The order of track, race number, stakes, bet type and horse number remains, but a ticket is printed out instead of having a teller hand one over.

How to bet on horse races in PA

There are three different ways to access horse race betting in PA – the first of those options is online.

For those looking for online horse betting PA, you will need an account at one of PA’s best online horse betting sites. The sign-up process is relatively quick and straightforward – it’s a matter of plugging in personal details and creating account information.

Once the funding of the account has been done, then the racecards from domestic and international racing will be listed. Then select the preferred racetrack and make a selection like a Win, Place or Show with your stake.

Tabs to exotic race bets are available, and the standard format is to make selections through radio buttons that will create the wager. The odds on exotics aren’t fixed odds, so they will change as the bet is created and edited.

Horse racing betting selections can be added to a bet slip from different races to create something like a double horse racing bet. Other popular online betting horse race betting options include a Pick 3, where you make three selections, all needing to win for the bet to be a winner.

Popular Types of PA Horse Race Bets:

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Straight bets - A straight bet is one of the most basic types of bet around. When you place a straight bet, in order to win the horse will need to do one specific thing. In other words, you may want the horse in question to finish in the top 3. Alternatively, you may want the horse to finish 4th.

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Exotic bets - This type of bet refers to a punter placing a bet on more than one horse. The bet can include a number of different races or just one race. Punters can bet on the horse’s winning position or how it fares over a number of races.

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Daily Double & Pick Three - Types of exotic bets, naming winners of two or three consecutive races

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Fixed Odds Bets - Prices set by the racebook

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Parimutuel Bets - Pool betting

Online racing betting is very similar in format to in-person bets. However, for horse racing betting, when walking up to the teller, there is a standard set of details to list when you want to make a bet. That will be nominating the track, race number, stake, type of wager, and your selected horse number.

An example is “Penn National, Race Three, $50 to Win on number four.”

Venues do have self-service machines available for horse race bets, and the process is similar. The order of track, race number, stakes, bet type and horse number remains, but a ticket is printed out instead of having a teller hand one over.

Horse betting odds

Horse racing odds come in two formats – Fixed Odds or Parimutuel. Which type will depend on where you are betting and what kind of bet you are playing.

Fixed Odds in horse race bets are quotes set by the racebook. A selection at 5-1 would be an example of fixed odds. For every unit of stake placed, a win would return five times in profit. So a $5 stake at 5-1 wins $25 profit, plus the stake is returned. An advantage of looking at fixed horse race bet odds is that strategies can be calculated.

Parimutuel horse racing odds come into play when looking at things like an Exotic bet. An entire horse race card for Win, Place or Show options can be presented in a parimutuel format depending on the racebook you are using.

With a parimutuel bet, all the money collected in that race gets distributed between the winning tickets. Final odds are not calculated through parimutuel racing odds until the race has been settled. 

Main horse racing events in PA

There are some top fixtures for PA horse race betting throughout the year. With so much history surrounding the commonwealth and the sport of horse racing within it, it has given rise to some hugely popular cards.

The biggest day in the state is the Pennsylvania Derby & Cotillion Day. It’s a day stacked with top Stakes races, and it is one of the biggest PA horse racing betting days.

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Pennsylvania Derby - The Pennsylvania Derby is the biggest feature that happens at Parx Racing. The contest, which is for 3-year-old thoroughbreds only, carries a $1 million prize purse. The first edition of the Derby was in 1989, and it took on its Grade 1 status in 2018. The Pennsylvania Derby is run on the last Saturday of September.

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The Penn Mile - While it is one of the newer races in the state, the Penn Mile is an exciting contest that was inaugurated in 2013. It carries the biggest purse of all fixtures on the turf at Penn National.

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Cotillion Stakes - Another vast $1 million purse that is presented at Parx Racing is the Cotillion Stakes. At just over a mile, it's one of the top races for 3-year-old fillies in the country. The race was first started in 1969 and is a highlight of PA horse racing betting.

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Presque Isle Down Mile - The Presque Isle Mile is another of the massive Stakes fixtures in the state. The Dawn Mile and the Presque Isle Masters are high-profile races at the venue.

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The Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids - The ADIOS Pace is one of the top Harness fixtures held every July at The Meadows. It's one of the biggest purses in harness racing outside of the Breeders Crown.

Upcoming horse race events in April-May 2022 (PA & USA)

Date Race Track
April 25th Page McKenney Handicap Parx Racing

April 25th

Unique Bella Stakes Parx Racing

May 6th

Kentucky Oaks

Churchill Downs

May 7th

Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs

May 21st

Preakness Stakes

Pimlico

May 27th

Crowd Pleaser Stakes

Parx Racing

May 27th

Power By Far Stakes Parx Racing
May 29th

Betsy Ross Invitational Mares Pace

Harrah’s Philadelphia

PA horse racing history (including online)

Thoroughbred horse racing in the USA can be traced back to the mid-1800s when the sport was organized and really started to gain some ground. Such was the growth and popularity of horse racing from that period onwards, that there were more than 300 tracks around the country before the turn of the 20th century.

In 1894 the American Jockey Club was founded and while racing had gained traction, bookmaking received a widespread ban, which nearly wiped out the sport. The bedrock of the modern sport came when pari-mutuel betting came along in 1908 which injected money back into the sport.

Pennsylvania horse racing is steeped in history, a great deal of the early features being harness racing. PA racing proudly boasts one of the greatest superstars of US horse racing, Man O’War.

The legendary thoroughbred, which was bought by businessman Samuel Riddle, a Delaware County native, won all but one of his 21 races. Among the biggest of those successes was Man O’War’s victories in the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

Man O’War is the sire of some further greats including Triple Crown winner War Admiral and was grandsire to the equally famous Seabiscuit.

In 1963 the first sport to be legalized for gambling in PA was Horse Racing, thanks to the Race Horse Industry Reform Act in 1959. That Act paved the way for Pennsylvania’s first racetrack, Meadows Race Track which was opened in 1963.

2017 was a massive year for horse racing betting in PA. That’s when Governor Tom Wolf signed HB 271 into law. That gave the state access to legalized gambling, covering the state’s casinos, including PA online casinos, and online sports betting. 

The push for legal sports betting in PA started in 2013 and it was a long road and a hard fight to get to 2017 when the bill HB 271 was passed on October 30th. 

FAQ

Online horse betting is legal in Pennsylvania. The 2017 House Bill 271 paved the way for online betting in PA via app or website.

Open an account with a reputable online horse racing betting site. Fund the account and browse through race cards to find selections.

One of the biggest sites for online horse racing betting in PA is TVG which operates under PABets in Pennsylvania.

Horse racing can be comprehensive. For beginners, it’s best to focus on certain key areas, like the trainer, jockey, current form and the conditions of the race being run.

It is possible to bet on the Kentucky Derby online in Pennsylvania. A lot of racebooks offer the opportunity to bet on the Kentucky derby.

Look for major sites like TVG / PABets that offer simulcast Kentucky Derby coverage. Tracks in PA host special days for the Classics.

A good resource for the biggest of the PA horse race bet events can be found at PennHorseRacing.com

Both residents and visitors to the state of Pennsylvania can engage in sports betting within the commonwealth’s state borders.