Off-Track Betting

Reviewed by
Fact checked by
Updated April 9, 2024

Let’s review the basics of off-track betting and cover all the major topics about it including:

OTB in the US – Find OTB locations near you

Today, off-track betting can be found in many States and Provinces across North America. Below, we run down the various OTB parlors in some of the biggest states in the Union. If you happen to be outside of these jurisdictions, please check out the online racebooks recommended in the Sports Betting Sites directory. Our meticulous reviews bring you the best of the best when it comes to offshore horse wagering.

Bovada is Best Overall

The Bovada racebook really stands out for its selection of Horse Racing odds, including futures and props.

At Bovada, you can use the sportsbook bonus on horse racing too. Bovada offers a solid Horse Racing welcome bonus. At 50%, it is at the standard level, and at 5x, the rollover requirement is especially nice.

The Bovada racebook is a breeze to navigate. Their horse racing betting guide means it is great for anyone who is not sure of all the details of how to be on horse racing. Their extensive odds and props means it’s great for experts too.

Read Bovada Review

Best OTB Sites and Locations By State

The Best in New York

With New York being the birthplace of Off Track Betting in North America, horse handicappers are never far from racing action. Whether from top NY tracks like Belmont Park or the Aqueduct Racetrack, or for racing action at Santa Anita Park in California, a NY OTB location is always close at hand.

The Best in Delaware

As one of the more progressive gambling states in the nation, Delaware horse handicappers are never far from the action with the Delaware Off Track Betting destinations. Delaware OTB bureaus offer global horse batting and are conveniently located in key areas throughout the Diamond State.

The Best in Florida

Horse wagering enthusiasts in sunny Florida have a myriad of wagering options available. Whether you want to wager on the ponies running at Gulfstream Park, or across the land at the Del Mar Racetrack in California, count on Florida Off Track Betting parlors to bring you live handicapping action at its finest.

The Best in California

With some of the best horse racing action on the planet, California continues to race neck and neck with the New York and Kentucky horse racing hotbeds. Residents who don’t have access to the live California racing scene can get in on the horse betting excitement at top OTB locations from Eureka to San Diego.

The Best in Maryland

Boasting the historic Pimilco Race Course, home of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown racing series, Maryland horse betting fans are surrounded by live horse racing venues. For times when a trip to an area park isn’t possible, check out the Maryland OTB horse handicapping scene.

The Best in Illinois

Home of three live horse racing venues, the State of Illinois is a proud and long-standing member of the North American horse betting industry. That is further evident by the large number of Off Track Betting locations that are scattered across the Land of Lincoln.

The Best in Colorado

Centennial State horse racing fans, while limited when it comes to live horse betting venues, can always handicap the ponies at the numerous Colorado Off Track Betting bureaus. Conveniently located from Aurora to Pueblo, the Colorado OTB locations offer exciting racing from around the planet on a daily basis.

The Best in New Jersey

What’s good for New York, is also good for New Jersey. Horse handicappers who can’t make it out to Jersey-based horse betting venues such as Meadowlands Racetrack or Monmouth Park can wager at the OTB bureaus scattered throughout the State. Click on the link above for a list of NJ OTB locations.

Click on any of the links above for information on the US OTB horse handicapping scene. If you can’t make it out to these venues, refer the top online Racebooks recommended here at Sports Betting Sites!

What is Off-Track Betting?

Off-track betting (or off-course betting in the UK) is betting on horse racing outside of the race track. It began prominence in the 1970s when it was legalized in New York City. In the 1980s it erupted to the point that race track operators began to worry as revenue within the tracks began to decrease.

The 1978 Interstate Horseracing Act was enacted to benefit the interests of both off-track betting parlors and the horse track owners with OTB revenue being distributed among the tracks, the horse owners, and the state. OTB parlors also had to operate within 60 miles (97 km) of a track.

While revenue within the tracks continued to dwindle, the industry got creative and formed new ways of betting including “exotic” wagers (now more popularly known as prop bets) and bets such as exacta and trifecta. The industry’s revenue began to grow again despite viewership continuing to slide.

However, horse racing’s gradual decline meant that profitability for betting parlours continued to go down. In December 2010, New York City’s OTB closed paving the way for online off-track betting.

Today, horse racing fans and bettors alike can pick from a bevy of sportsbooks to get their off-track betting fix.

off track betting

How does off-track betting work?

Horse racing offers plenty of things to bet on. These are known as betting markets and can vary depending on the book or the event.

There are three time spans when you can make off-track bets: before events, before a race, and during a race. The majority of betting markets cater around these areas.

Betting before events is a Futures bet, this is when you bet on an outcome of a race or event in the future. The odds here are not as profitable as when betting these same odds closer to the race in the form of an outright bet.

Odds will also change even after you’ve placed a bet. In some rare cases, some bets are taken off the board and your wager is refunded. We recommend placing another wager if the odds on your original bet have become better and your confidence remains the same.

Speaking of outright bets, these are the most popular bets: pick which horse wins the race. Next to the outright bets are variations that include picking a podium finish or picking a horse to “place” (finish in the top-two) or “show (finish in the top-three).

There is also live betting where you can bet on a horse race as it is happening. This is not always available given how short each horse race is.

And last but not least are prop bets or “exotic” wagers, where you bet on an outcome happening or not happening that does not include the winner of the horse race.

Examples of props include if the winner will break a record (such as Secretariat’s record), what age the winning jockey will be, or if the horse’s speed will go over or under the bookmaker’s total.

Best off-track racing bonuses

You will find off-tracking betting bonuses through the sign-up bonuses in most online sportsbooks. Each book has different conditions and the reward packages vary per player, but most have a stipulation where your initial deposit is matched up to a certain amount.

The cash you are rewarded is the equivalent of “free bets” you can use to bet on the ponies.

 For Bodog, there is a five-times rollover that includes the initial deposit as well as the bonus amount. With Bet365, your bet credits will be released when you place qualifying bets to the value of your qualifying deposit (capped at $200) and within 30 days of the offer. For SportsInteraction (SIA), the bonus is equal to the amount of your first deposit and subject to a roll-over of 10 times.

Read more on the different conditions of your betting bonus from each book. You can avail of all of these bonuses if you meet the criteria for any book. The more books you’re signed up for, the more bonuses!

Off-track Betting Calendar 2020

Horse racing happens all year-round, especially if you follow more than the North American scene. But even within North America, you can find a horse race to bet on every month.

Namely, here is when most of the major horse races across North America happen:

A quick glance at this indicates the summer months of June to August are the busiest time for horse racing while October is also notable for the Breeders’ Cup.

Outside of North America, there are some big horse races happening globally. Some of these happen during these months:

These aren’t the only horse races happening. Smaller races happen globally almost every day. You will find most of them from your favourite online sportsbooks.

Off-track Betting Mini-Dictionary

Off-track Betting in Canada

Off-track betting became officially legal in Canada in 1989 when it was approved federally. The industry has flourished within Canada as horse racing remains a small but steady pastime for many spectators.

Most of the off-track betting action now runs through the top online sportsbooks all equipped with generous sign-up bonuses and a broad selection of horse racing markets. You can also make wagers on the limited horse races around the country, but the odds and markets available in these top books will blow those away just like a Triple Crown winner against his competition. 

About the Author

Trent Reinsmith
Trent Reinsmith

Trent’s your man when it comes to all things sports. He covers a wide range of sports for Sports Betting Sites, and has been published in some pretty reputable outlets, such as USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively. Trent’s got the inside track on all the happenings in the world of sports.

Read Trent’s Profile

Ask Trent about this guide:

Email Twitter