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Top horse betting sites in Illinois

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Yes, horse race betting is fully legal in the state of Illinois. The modern horse racing fan has a range of legal betting options to choose from. The state of Illinois allows legal online wagering, off-track betting facilities (OTBs), and traditional tracks.

Illinois outlines the legality of horse race wagering in Section 26 of the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975. Players can be assured of the legality of their bets because the act is enforced.

Rules for wagering on horses in Illinois

There are a few things to consider before wagering on horses in Illinois. There are rules outlined by the IRB which apply to everyone. Legislation passed in 2019 has some standard rules about betting:

  • Bettors must be 21 years or more to make a bet.
  • There is no residency requirement. However, the person wagering must be in the Illinois bordered area to use the legal apps or websites.
  • No bets can be placed by an employee working in the same sports league.
  • A person who is on a self-exclusion list can't play at certain websites.
  • Bettors can only use websites and apps which are regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.

Each legal online horse betting business will also outline wagering rules in their house rules and terms and conditions.

The most important rule to take note of is the wagering requirements for bonuses and other promotions. Minimum and maximum deposits or withdrawals should also be taken note of. Many bonuses and promotions also have expiry dates.

Best online horse betting sites in Illinois

  • TVG - Best site for horse race betting
  • Twinspires - Best site for rewards programs
  • Nyra Bets - Best site for live streaming
  • XPressbet - Best site for bonus offers


TVG is a great site to start betting on horses within Illinois. This brand offers risk-free bets (wagering conditions apply), bet insurance, enhanced odds, and promotions. It also has daily giveaways, cashback, and insurance.

The user can enjoy all the Illinois races and bet on over 150 racetracks all over the world. Live streaming from the mobile app is also available. It is also simple to navigate. Lastly, TVG has 24-hour customer service.


Bettors can also enjoy all the live horse racing and betting action at TwinSpires. They have a range of horse races and types of bets to choose from. The user can also access other types of sports betting from all over the globe.

Additionally, Twinspires is also a trusted site owned by Churchill Downs. Users can sign up for an account and receive a welcome bonus when they register for the first time. TwinSpires also has one of the best rewards programs, where players can earn points for each dollar wagered.

Nyra Bets

Nyra Bets lets users from Illinois wager on horses. The site is interactive and easy to use. Furthermore, Nyra has some interesting bets like swap selections, batch bets, and other standard types of bets.

The brand is available on mobiles and other types of devices online. In addition, the service is in 30 US states, including Illinois. On Nyra Bets, you can live stream horse races arranged by the organization.


Xpressbet has fantastic bonuses and plenty of horse racing action for Illinois customers. There is an XB Rewards program with points for every dollar gambled. The mobile horse race app is also easy to use and navigate.

Xpressbet offers some of the biggest bonuses for new sign-ups, making them a great choice if you want to boost your bankroll.

How to bet on horses in Illinois

There are three ways to bet on horse races in Illinois:

1. At the horse track

Going to the horse track is the traditional way to punt. It is possible to see real horses and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the track. Betting fans just need to choose a track and see if the horses are running. It is advised to do some research before visiting.

Hawthorn Racetrack and FanDuel Sportsbook Horse Racing Park both offer different things to each punter. Furthermore, the track's opening times depend on the time of the year.

2. Off-track betting (OTB)

Off-track betting in Illinois allows people to enjoy a legal bet without having to travel to the actual race. Users can look at the races on the screen and check the latest odds. Punters can also find other important information before making a bet.

There are many OTBs around the state of Illinois. It is possible to find one in the North, South, West, Southwest, and other areas of the state. OTBs are ideal for relaxing with a drink and a meal in a relaxed environment. Some bettors like to enjoy a solo bet or just hang out with friends or family at an OTB.

3. Online horse betting

Customers can wager on horse races online by going to several licensed advanced deposit wagering operators. These are legally authorized by the IRB in Illinois.

Some of the licensed horse betting sites include TwinSpires, Xpressbet, and TVG. The websites are easy to navigate, and users can make any type of bet on the Illinois horses. Most of them also have a mobile app for even more convenient play. They have betting bonus offers and promotions to help bankroll players. The apps also have live-streaming of horse racing and other unique types of betting.

Different types of bets you can place on horses

The number of bets available for Illinois horse racing is staggering today. Betting sites are continuing to offer something unique to their customers. This means that many new types of bets keep hitting the web.

However, let’s take a look at most of the standard bets used by names like TwinSpires, BetAmerica, XpressBet, and TVG.

  • Win: Choose the horse that will go over the finishing line first on any race in Illinois. This offers the best odds for a single bet.
  • Place: This bet is for those wanting to choose the second and third runners of the race. The odds will be less than a winning bet on most occasions.
  • Show: A show bet means that the chosen horse must come in either first, second or third place. This pays less.
  • Exacta: An exacta bet requires a bit more skill than just a single bet. A person must choose the exact order of the first and second place runners. This results in better odds and the chance of a larger win.
  • Quinella: A quinella is similar to an exacta, but it is not quite as difficult. Make a bet on the first and second horses. A quinella bet will pay regardless of where the horses place in the first or second positions.
  • Trifecta: A trifecta bet is another popular bet and begins by choosing the winner, second and third place. It pays well because it is much more difficult to choose horses in the correct order.
  • Superfecta: A superfecta is the same as a Trifecta but adds another layer to the bet. The person wagering must choose the first, second, third, and fourth runners. All horses must finish in the right order to get the cash. The chances of winning this bet are low, so some serious money can be made on this one.
  • Daily Double: The daily double is for early race lovers. It challenges the bettor to choose the winner of the first two races at the beginning of the day.
  • Super Hi-Five: Pick the first five horses in a race. A sole ticket holder receives a jackpot for picking the first five. There is the potential for a huge win from this bet but the chances of winning it are very low.
  • Pick 3, 4, or 5 Horses: Pick the winner of 3,4 or 5 consecutive races on a single ticket. The more horses that are chosen for a potential winner, the higher the cost of the ticket.

How to register & deposit funds on horse betting sites

Online is one of the most convenient and easiest ways to start betting on horses in Illinois. However, it is important to check if the site is a legally endorsed site. The most popular are TwinSpires, Xpressbet BetAmerica, and TVG.

Choose a website and take a look over the welcome bonus and conditions before registering. Also, check if the payment methods are suitable. A general look over the house rules and terms and conditions will also help to avoid later hassles or frustrations.

Register to a horse race betting site

1. Go to the webpage or download the app and enter your promo code if you have one.

2. Enter name, date of birth, address, and other relevant information.

3. Create an account with a username and password.

4. You will then have to activate your account. This is usually done by email or phone.

5. Some sites will also ask for security questions that can be used to unlock an account.

Deposit funds

1. It is time to deposit some funds so you can start placing wagers. A bonus will usually not be added until funds have been added to an account.

2. Go to the cashier or banking section of the site and choose a payment method. The usual payment methods include credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets, bank transfers, or online banking.

3. Enter the amount to be deposited and the other details required for payment. This will differ but could include an email address, bank card number, name, CVV number, or bank details.

4. Enter the security details, such as 2-factor authorization. This can be in the form of a pin code texted to a mobile.

5. You should then notice that the money has been added to your account. A welcome bonus or other promotions may also be added.

Different types of horse races in IL

Thoroughbred Racing

Two racetracks offer thoroughbred racing in Illinois. The racehorses have been bred specifically for horseracing. In addition, a thoroughbred race is a horse race without any jumping obstacles. They are known for their incredible power, long necks, and legs. Seeing them also reveals a deep chest and lean body.

The horses also have solid hindquarters made for racing. Thoroughbred horses are hot-blooded breeds due to their speed and agility. This is essential during the horse race. You can see this type of racing at both the Hawthorn Racetrack and the FanDuel Sportsbook Horse Racing.

Quarter Horse Racing

Quarter Horse Racing is a type of horse racing done at very high speed. It is completed on a straightaway course. It is also completed over a short distance of around 550 yards. The quarter horse race has quarter horse breeds.

Hawthorn Racetrack and FanDuel Sportsbook Horse Racing often feature such races. The breeds are built for their super speed. This is not the case for thoroughbred horses. However, these horses don't have the staying power of the thoroughbreds. The build of the horses is also different.

Harness Racing

Harness racing is a type of horse racing that involves a horse pulling a two-wheeled cart called a sulky or a spider. The driver controls the horse in the sulky. Harness racing in North America and Illinois is for Standardbred horses. These horses have masculine bodies, short legs, and long bodies.

They can pace or trot at a racing speed. In Illinois, harness horse racing is an important part of state history. The harness racers have been at it for over 90 years. Harness racing is celebrated on August 13 every year. Harness racing happens at the state fair and other venues in the State.

Horse racing tracks in Illinois

There are two well-known horse racing tracks in Illinois: the Hawthorne Race Course and FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing Collinsville.

Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Race Course offers betting outlets at the track. Other OTBs are affiliated to the track and scattered around Illinois. Bettors can put on all the different types of bets such as single race wagers, exactas, trifectas, and more.

Address: 3501 S. Laramie, Cicero

FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing Collinsville

Formerly known as Fairmount Park, this horse track has been around for over 9 decades. The track opened in 1925 and has thoroughbred flat racing on dirt. However, in 2019 FanDuel bought the facility in order to get a sports betting license in Illinois.

Address: 9301 Collinsville Road, Collinsville

OTB Locations in Illinois

The State of Illinois is another area of North America that has embraced the off-track betting concept. From June 2019, different racing parks within the state can establish a limited number of off-track betting locations. This is set out in the Illinois horse racing Act.

FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing Park have 2 locations and Hawthorne has 16 off-track betting locations. These venues are legal areas offering comfortable dining, excellent food, plenty of drinks, and television monitors to watch the horses.

Below are some of the most popular OTB locations in Illinois:

Trackside Chicago OTB

This is a good OTB for casual dining and drinks over a few bets. Bettors can place something on the Illinois races. Furthermore, the choices of bets extend to other areas of the States and the world. They have private areas with a TV and a sociable bar for a sit-down drink. There is something for everyone at this location.

Address: 901 W. Weed Street, Chicago, IL 60642-2540

Shooter's Bar & Grill OTB (Don Carter Lanes)

This OTB has a steady stream of happy customers, and for good reason.

Shooter’s Bar & Grill at Don Carter Lanes has grown famous for comfort, quality food, and a large selection of drinks. What about making a bet? It is a relaxing place to bet on local races. There are also opportunities to make a wager on other races in the U.S and abroad. They have over 80 television monitors for watching the excitement. This OTB is open seven days a week. A great place to enjoy some downtime.

Address: 4007 E. State Street, Rockford, IL 61108(815)

Trackside Waukegan OTB

Trackside Waukegan OTB has over 250 television monitors to follow all the odds and horseracing action. It is made for racing all over North America. So make a punt on the Illinois races and many others. Trackside Waukegan OTB has a casual and relaxing feel about it. Great dining and drinks are also available. It has the newly redesigned Finish Line Restaurant, the Grandstand Bar, the Horse Shoe Bar, and the Backstretch Deli.

Address: 630 S. Green Bay Road Waukegan, IL 60085(847)

Sam's Triple Crown

Sam's Triple Crown is a fantastic meeting place for friends and family. It is a place to enjoy a punt, have a great meal, and enjoy some drinking. If the horses are on, then the opportunities to leave with some money are numerous. The track has 30 large screens for sporting events and seeing the odds. Leave with a big smile, a full stomach, and hopefully a bit richer.

Address: 9201 159th St, Orland Hills, IL 60487, USA

The Turf Room

The Turf Room has an American-style menu that changes regularly. The turf room has three dining rooms, a lounge, a wine bar, or track room, and so much more. A wonderful experience is only a visit away at The Turf Room. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere, service, and a full tummy. Finally, don't forget to make a bet and see if a winner comes up.

Address: 1033 Kilbery Ln, North Aurora, IL 60542-4600

The history of horse betting in Illinois

Illinois has a long history when it comes to horse betting, as a matter of fact wagering on horses was made legal already in the late 20s. See the full timeline of horse race betting in Illinois below:

  • 1927 – Pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing created by the Illinois General Assembly.
  • 1933 - The Illinois Racing Board (IRB) is created.
  • 1975 - The Illinois Horse Racing Act makes laws for the IRB to regulate horse betting. It is given more powers to enforce the laws.
  • 1999 - ADW (Advanced Deposit Wagering) is made legal. This means that Illinois can have online betting.
  • 2009 - Lawmakers finally allowed advance deposit wagering (online betting) in 2009 by amending the Illinois Horse Racing Act. Legal online betting provided the state with a way to collect taxes.
  • 2019 - The Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 is amended and opens up OTBs for other areas of Illinois.
  • 2019 - The Sports Wagering Act gets made. It permits sportsbooks and mobile betting at racecourses in Illinois.


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, most horse betting bookies in Illinois also have mobile apps that you can download on both iOS and Android. Make sure you check the website of your chosen operator to see if they have an app.

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.