HomeIllinois Horse Race Betting

Top horse betting sites in Illinois

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Betting on horse races is one of the oldest forms of sports betting in the world, dating back to the early 1600s in Great Britain. In the 19th century, horse racing started to gain momentum in the United States, with over 300 horse racing tracks being operational by that time.

Illinois quickly became one of the biggest markets for horse race betting. With the rise of online horse race betting over the past 20 years, Illinois remains a hot spot for horse racing enthusiasts across the country.

Best Illinois online horse betting sites

  1. TwinSpires - Best site for horse race betting
  2. TVG - Best site for live streaming
  3. Nyra Bets - Best site for rewards
  4. Xpressbet - Best site for mobile horse betting
  5. Caesars Racebook - New Illinois racebook

Each legal Illinois online horse betting site offers a slightly different experience. Some sites offer very lucrative bonuses for their users to get in on, while others are better for live betting.

Knowing the ins and outs of every major horse betting site in the state is imperative when choosing which site you’d like to wager through. Here’s a look at the most popular horse betting sites in Illinois:

TwinSpires Illinois Logo

1. TwinSpires

If you’re looking for a great welcome bonus and worthwhile rewards program, TwinSpires Racebook Illinois is the way to go.

They’re owned by Churchill Downs Inc., who’s the parent company to the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs racetrack, making TwinSpires one of the most reliable racebooks available to IL players.

TVG Illinois Logo

2. TVG

Powered by FanDuel, TVG is a great place to start if you're a newbie in the horse betting field. They offer boosted odds and promotions, along with daily giveaways.

Aside from betting on all of the horse races taking place in IL, TVG also allows bettors to wager on over 150 tracks across the country. Not to mention the live streaming capabilities on the operator’s mobile app.

NYRA Bets Illinois Logo

3. NYRA Bets

Live streaming in HD, efficient live chat customer support, and an easy-to-use app interface are just a few of the things offered by NYRA Bets.

They also provide users with rewards for every $1 wagered, which is great for avid horse race bettors.

Xpressbet Illinois Logo

4. Xpressbet

From their solid promo offers to their XB Rewards program, there’s a lot to like with Xpressbet’s product.

Their app employs the latest horse race betting technology and the interface is simple to navigate through.

Caesars Racebook Illinois Logo

5. Caesars Racebook

Caesars Racebook, a collaborative venture between Caesars Entertainment and the New York Horse Racing Association, has recently launched in Illinois, marking it as their 21st state.

This platform stands out in the Illinois horse race betting scene with its unique integration into the Caesars Rewards program. For every $3 bet, users earn rewards credits, redeemable at Caesars' physical casinos in Illinois and for various online betting options.

Illinois online horse race betting promos

What's even better than a day at the races? Scoring exclusive promos and bonuses while you wager! We've curated a list of the latest Illinois online horse race betting promos.

🐎 TwinSpires 🎁 $200 in bonus bets
🐎 TVG 🎁 $200 in second chance bets
🐎 Nyra Bets 🎁 $200 deposit match bonus
🐎 Xpressbet 🎁 $500 deposit match bonus
🐎 Caesars Racebook 🎁 $200 deposit match bonus

Yes, betting on horse races is legal in Illinois.

The state also allows online horse race betting, along with the ability to wager at off-track betting (OTB) locations.

Rules for wagering on horses in Illinois

Before you run in guns blazing on a horse betting website, it’s important to be aware of the relevant rules tied to horse race betting. Here are the most common regulations horse betting sites employ.

  • Users must be at least 18 years old to place bets on horses in IL.
  • While users don’t have to live in IL, they will need to be within state lines in order to be eligible to use Illinois horse betting sites.
  • Employees at race tracks, or for online betting companies, are prohibited from wagering on horse racing.
  • Bettors are only permitted to place online horse race bets through websites that are regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.

How to bet on horse racing in Illinois

  • At the horse track: Betting in person at the racetrack is the traditional way to get in on the horse betting action. If you’re a sucker for the live experience and taking in the allure of horse racing, visiting the racetrack is the way to go. Some tracks are only open during certain times of the year, so before scheduling a race to go to, make sure to double-check which tracks are actually open.
  • Off-track betting (OTB): Off-track betting, or OTB, allows players to wager on horse races without being present at the actual race. OTB locations typically have several screens along their walls for players to keep track of the races they’ve bet on. If you’re looking for a more laid-back experience while enjoying a cocktail and a bite to eat, going the OTB route is your best option.
  • Online horse betting: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Betting on horse races online is the most convenient way to go about it. Most racebooks have mobile apps to accompany their website, making the betting process even easier for users.

Different types of bets you can place on horses

Even if you’re a seasoned veteran in Illinois sports betting, betting on horse races can still be a steep learning curve.

First things first, you’re going to want to be aware of all the possible bets you can place during a horse race. We have the ones you’d probably expect, like betting on a winner straight up, but there are several other bet types to keep in mind.

Here’s a quick rundown of each:

  • Win: This is the most straightforward horse bet users can make. Simply wager money on which horse you think will cross the finish line first.
  • Place: Users can also place wagers on which horse or horses they believe will come in second or third place. For obvious reasons, the odds of collecting are usually more favorable here than with a first-place winner bet.
  • Show: A show bet can be placed on a horse that you believe will come in first, second, or third place. Again, the odds of winning are typically more favorable here than the two bet types above, but the payout is lower.
  • Exacta: An exacta bet lives up to its name. Here, bettors must pick the exact horses that will finish in first and second place. The odds are typically pretty high for this bet type, increasing the potential payout.
  • Quinella: Quinella bets are pretty similar to exacta bets, they just don’t require as much precision. Bettors can choose two horses to place in first and second place. If both horses place in either first or second, your bet wins.
  • Trifecta: With a trifecta bet, bettors must correctly guess the first, second, and third-place winners of a given horse race. It’s one of the most popular bet types among horse race bettors, but it’s also one of the most difficult to win.
  • Superfecta: A superfecta bet is exactly the same as a trifecta bet, but wagers must include the fourth-place winner as well.
  • Daily Double: A daily double bet requires bettors to predict the winners of two consecutive races.
  • Super Hi-Five: A super hi-five bet, or apentafecta, requires the bettor to choose the correct horses for first, second, third, fourth, and fifth place. It’s without a doubt the hardest vertical bet type to hit on.

Horse racing odds and implied probability

In horse race betting, odds are expressed either as fractions or as decimals. For example, a horse might be listed at odds of 5/1 or 6.00, depending on the bookmaker. Both formats convey the same information: the amount of money you could win if your bet is successful relative to your initial stake.

So, how do you calculate your potential winnings based on the odds?

Let's use the example of a horse with odds of 5/1. This means that for every $1 you bet, you stand to win $5 if the horse wins. So, if you bet $10 on the horse and it wins, you'll receive $60 in total ($50 in winnings plus your original $10 stake).

Now that you understand how the odds work let's talk about implied probability. This refers to the likelihood of a horse winning a race, as represented by the odds.

How to calculate implied probability

You need to convert the odds into a percentage to calculate the implied probability of a horse winning.

Let's take the example of a horse with odds of 5/1, which we know can be expressed as a decimal of 6.00. Using the formula, we can calculate the implied probability as follows:

1 / (6.00 + 1) = 0.1667 or 16.67%

According to the odds, the horse has a 16.67% chance of winning the race. Of course, this is just a prediction based on the data available at the time, and many factors can influence the outcome of a horse race.

It's worth noting that bookmakers set their odds based on many factors, including the horse's past performance, the jockey, the track conditions, and the level of competition in the race.

As a result, the odds can change in the lead-up to the race as more information becomes available.

How to register and deposit funds on Illinois horse betting websites

If you’re itching to start placing horse bets and you would like to do so from the comfort of your own home, you’ll need to sign-up for a racebook and get some money into your account first.

The most popular racebooks are the ones we touched on above (TVG, TwinSpires, NYRA Bets, and Xpressbet). Luckily, the registration and depositing process for all of them is pretty straightforward.

How to register to a horse race betting site

  1. Visit the racebook’s website or mobile app. Click the sign-up or register button and be sure to apply a promo code if you have one.
  2. You’ll need to enter your full legal name, date of birth, address, and other relevant information.
  3. Create a suitable username and password for the account.
  4. After creation, users will have to verify their accounts. This is typically done through email or text messages.
  5. Sometimes, racebooks will ask you to provide a handful of security questions that will be used in the event you forget your password.

How to deposit funds

  1. Now that your account has been successfully created, it’s time to get some funds into it so you can wager. On the homepage, find the cashier icon (typically found in the upper right-hand corner), and click it to get started.
  2. When you reach the cashier screen, choose which payment method you’d like to utilize. The most common payment methods include Debit cards, online banking, and e-wallets.
  3. You’ll then need to enter the amount of money you’d like to deposit, along with the required information for your payment method. This information will differ depending on which option you’ve chosen.
  4. Once the money is successfully deposited into your account, you’re all set to start wagering on horse racing.

Different types of horse races in Illinois

  • Thoroughbred racing: Thoroughbred racing is the classic form of horse racing. Well-bred horses simply try to complete the course in the fastest possible time. The distance will typically be between 5 furlongs and 1.5 miles. Some races are run on a dirt surface, others are run on turf, and there are synthetic surfaces as well
  • Quarter horse racing: Quarter horse racing is a very short distance of about 220 yards at minimum up to approximately 800 yards, and it’s run in a straight line at very high speeds. The straightaway courses used to be a quarter mile in length, hence the name.
  • Harness racing: This race type involves a standardbred horse pulling a small cart called a “sulky” with a driver in it to direct them. Horses won’t reach the same speeds in harness races because they must trot or pace – they don’t gallop freely.

Horse racing tracks in Illinois

There are two major horse racing tracks in Illinois: Hawthorne Race Track and FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing Collinsville, formerly known as Fairmount Park Racetrack.

Both venues offer in-person betting for various races, and they’re both associated with various OTB locations scattered across the state.

Hawthorne Race Track is located at 3501 S. Laramie Ave. in Cicero, IL.

The FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing track (Fairmount Park), which has been around since 1925, can be found at 9301 Collinsville Rd. in Collinsville, IL.

OTB locations in Illinois

There are 16 off-track betting locations in Illinois. FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (Fairmount Park) have 3 OTBs, while Hawthorne Race Course has 13. Here’s a quick look at each and where you can find them:

  • Time Out OTB – 315 Belle Street, Alton, IL 62002
  • The Piazza – 85 Executive Drive, Aurora, IL 60504
  • Crestwood OTB – 13148 Rivercrest Dr., Crestwood, IL 60445
  • Evergreen Park OTB – 2517 W. 95th St., Evergreen Park, IL 60805
  • Saddle Room – 2559 Pratum Avenue, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192
  • Club Hawthorne Joliet – 2200 W. Jefferson Street, Joliet, IL 60435
  • Black Eyed Susan – 17030 Torrence Avenue, Unit G, Lansing, IL 60438
  • Salerno’s Pizzeria – 621 Ridgeview Drive, McHenry, IL 60050
  • Stoney Point Grill – 19031 Old LaGrange Road, Mokena, IL 60448
  • The Turf Room – 650 Randall Crossing Lane, North Aurora, IL 60452
  • Oakbrook Terrace OTB – 17W648 22nd St., Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
  • Players Pub & Grill – 1250 South River Road, Prospect Heights, IL 60070
  • Club Hawthorne Rockford – 4007 East State St., Rockford, IL 61108
  • Route 3 OTB – 2400 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, IL 62201
  • Capital Teletrack – 1776 Wabash Avenue, Springfield, IL 62704
  • Trackside at Crazy Pour – 105 East North Avenue, Villa Park, IL 60181


Are there any bonuses available on Illinois horse betting sites?

Names like Twinspires, Xpressbet, BetAmerica, and TVG all offer bonuses in Illinois in the form of risk-free bets, free bets, and cashback bonuses. They also have VIP programs, reward programs, gifts, and other promotions.

Are there any mobile horse betting apps available in IL?

Yes, there are plenty of horse betting apps for Illinois residents to use. TVG, NYRA Bets, and TwinSpires are among the most popular.

What is the Illinois Racing Board?

The Illinois Racing Board (IRB) is a legal body that regulates the Illinois horse racing industry. The IRB implements the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975. Furthermore, the board uses the act for supervision and enforcement. Additionally, it oversees horse racing bets or other transactions made for monetary gain.

What is the ITHA?

The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (ITHA) represents the owners and trainers of thoroughbred horses that race at Chicagoland tracks. The mission of ITHA is to improve the working conditions of many occupations in the industry. The association also looks out for the health and safety of the horsemen and employees that it represents.

How old do you have to be to bet on horse races in IL?

You must be at least 18 years old to place horse racing bets in Illinois.