Horse Betting in New York

New York isn’t the most sports betting friendly state in the country. But it’s a great state for horse race betting, as it offers both on-track and off-track betting through a variety of venues and betting platforms. New York is also home to some of the most famous horse races in the U.S., including the Belmont Stakes.

Mobile and online sports betting are on the horizon and the horse betting scene in New York might change rapidly. For now, let’s take a look at horse betting in New York as it stands and explore how you can place wagers starting today.

Online horse betting basics for New York

Although New York doesn’t allow other types of online sports betting, online horse racing is a beloved institution in the Empire State due to its history. Indeed, New York has a handful of high-quality racetracks that have been in operation for decades without pause.

If you want to bet on horse racing online in New York, there are a few requirements. For starters, you need to be 21 years of age or older to sign up for one of the mobile apps or horse racing sites. Then you have to register for an online horse racing site or app. This involves providing your personal information, such as your Social Security number and physical address (to verify that you live in New York).

But these requirements are relatively relaxed compared to the restrictions imposed on other types of sports betting throughout the country.

Pari-mutuel betting system

Horse racing is legal in New York in part due to the pari-mutuel betting system that it follows. In a nutshell, pari-mutuel betting means that odds are derived from the number of people who pull their income to take part in a wager. The more people add their money to a bet, the higher the potential payout will be and the higher the horse betting odds will rise as a result.

Furthermore, pari-mutuel betting means that tracks or race operators get their cut from the total pool of cash. Everyone wins with the pari-mutuel system.

Different types of horse racing bets

There are four types of horse racing bets you can place.

Single horse

Single horse racing bets involve placing a wager on the results of a single horse. These include:

  • Win wagers, where you wager that your horse will win a race
  • Place wagers, which involve wagering that your horse will come in first or second place
  • Show wagers, which involve wagering that your horse will come in first, second, or third place

Win wagers offer the best payout in general since the odds of success are much slimmer.


There are also multi-horse wagers. With these, you place bets on multiple horses and their performance in the same racing event. These include:

  • Exacta wagers, where you pick two horses. The horses have to finish in the first and second place and the exact order you predicted for you to receive a payout
  • Trifecta wagers are the same as exacta wagers. You pick three horses instead and each horse has to come in first, second, or third place as you predicted to get a payout
  • Superfecta wagers are the same as the above but you pick four horses. The same position requirements are in effect

With multi-horse wagers, gamblers are allowed to “box” the wager. This means you can place multiple bets on the same race with different horse positions in each bet to cover your potential losses. For example, you could make a box wager in two parts:

  • With wager one, you wager that Horse A will come in the first place, Horse B will come in second place, and Horse C will come in third place
  • With the second box wager, you bet that Horse B will come in the first place, Horse C will come in second place, and Horse A will come in third place


Bettors can also place multi-race wagers. These involve placing bets on the outcomes of horses across multiple races. These include:

  • 5/6 bets: You must pick the winner of many races on a single track for a day and get 5 out of 6 correct to win
  • Futures wagers: where you wager on the future outcomes or horse races that have not taken place. These are popular wager choices for big tournaments like the Kentucky Derby.

Exotic Wagers

Your last options are exotic bets, which are complex and that often have high payouts. With exotic bets, you have to get each bet element correct to receive a payout. Technically, any multi-horse bets count as exotic bets. Additional examples include:

  • Daily Double wagers: With these, you have to bet on the correct first-place finishers for two races involving different horses
  • Combination bets: These allow you to combine multiple single horse bets into a larger wager. But you have to get each “leg” of the bet correct to win the payout
  • Pick 3 bets: With these, you wager on the first place winner for three consecutive races

How to claim a horse racing deposit bonus

To draw in new sports bettors, horse racing sites and horse betting apps often provide deposit bonuses or other opening bonuses. These can provide you with additional wagering credit that you can use based on the terms and conditions of the bonus in question.

For example, NYRA Bets is a popular horse racing betting site for New York horse racing enthusiasts. It offers a 100% deposit match bonus so long as you use the promo code “MATCH200”.

It works like this:

  • First, sign up for an account with the NYRA Bets site
  • Then, deposit within 30 days of signing up for your account. Add the promo code above
  • Place a wager for twice the amount of your initial deposit up to $200
  • Then you’ll get a wagering credit that matches the deposit up to $200

Say that you deposit $200 at first. Then you place a $400 bet. NYRA will provide you with a $200 wagering credit to cover the difference. It’s a great way to double your immediate wagering power and participate in higher stakes bets if you don’t have a lot of cash to start with.

How to get started horse betting online

Big New York horse betting sites and apps allow you to sign up relatively quickly. For starters, simply download the horse racing app in question, such as TVG or NYRA, to your mobile device. Or visit the worst racing site using a desktop or laptop computer.

Then you can sign up and make an account. This involves providing personal information like your Social Security number and physical address. Note that, if you use Android, you’ll have to download the mobile app by visiting the operator’s website since the Google Play store doesn’t allow any gambling apps at all.

After registering and making an account, you can deposit funds into your account to begin wagering right away. Different sites or operators provide different deposit methods. Some of the most common include:

  • Visa or Mastercard deposits
  • MoneyPak purchases, which can be made at major retailers across the nation
  • Express Funding, which allows for fast bank transfers and no fees
  • PayNearMe terminals, which allow you to deposit to your account using cash or a card at local CVS and 7-Eleven stores
  • PayPal and, depending on the platform, other electronic wallets like Skrill
  • Mail deposits through money orders or personal checks
  • Wire transfers if you link your bank account directly to your horserace betting account

In any case, be sure to check if any restrictions apply with a given deposit method. Some methods incur certain fees, which can cut into your wagering cash. Other methods might be better if you want to fund your account quickly since some methods require you to wait a few business days before your funds show up in your account.

How long do I have to claim a winning bet?

With all New York horse race betting sites, your winnings become “available” immediately after winning a wager. However, this doesn’t mean that you can necessarily spend that money on the same data when it.

In reality, all that happens is that your winnings become attached to your name immediately after winning a wager. You then have to place a withdrawal request. In many cases, withdrawal requests can be placed with the same channels as deposit options, but not always. You can place withdrawal requests with credit or debit cards, bank account connections, and more.

After placing your withdrawal request, you’ll need to wait for it to be processed. In most cases, this takes up to five business days that start from when the operator receives your withdrawal request and puts in the transfer to your bank. NYRA Bets requires five days from withdrawal request to when you’ll see your winnings in your account of choice.

Keep this in mind if you win big and want to get your money ASAP. Unless you’re at a physical racetrack, you’ll have to wait for around a week or so until you can enjoy those winnings.

What horse races can I bet on?

There are three major types of horse races you can place wagers on. Each is distinguished based on the type of horses that participate. These include thoroughbred horse racing, quarter horse racing, and standardbred horse racing.

Furthermore, horse races are distinguished based on the type of track used for the competition. In most cases, certain horse racetracks have different surfaces and so host different competitions or types of horse races. Types of horse track surfaces include turf, dirt, and other artificial surfaces that are commonly found on more modern tracks.

Major horse racing events in 2021

2021, despite delays due to COVID-19, is set to offer a wide range of big racing events throughout the year. Many of the sport’s favorite events are due to return. There are a few major horse racing events that sports bettors might want to check out. These include:

  • The Breeders’ Cup: This is a massive horse racing event that encompasses several thoroughbred horse races. The Breeders’ Cup is partially popular because it usually provides a big prize pool for the winning horse. The purse is usually worth around $6 million.

There’s also the Triple Crown. As its name suggests, it includes three major races that take place at different tracks and at different times of the year.

  • The first race is the Kentucky Derby, which takes place on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs every year. It’s one of the oldest and most famous horse racing events in the United States of all time.
  • The Kentucky Derby is followed by the Preakness Stakes. This race is held two weeks following the Derby and is usually held in Maryland at the Pimlico Race Course.
  • The Belmont Stakes finishes the Triple Crown and takes place three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. New York horse racing enthusiasts might want to check this race out in person since it always takes place at Belmont Park in New York.

There are plenty of other horse racing events as well, including:

  • The Pegasus World Cup is a famous horse race that takes place in South Florida. It’s a thoroughbred horse race that began in 2017.
  • The Dubai World Cup is one of the most famous thoroughbred horse races and it’s been running since 1996. It’s an international horse meet that attracts professional riders from all over the world.
  • The Saudi Cup is also an important international horse race held in Saudi Arabia. It’s the most recent major meet to be held, with the first edition taking place in 2020. It has the largest purse out of any race in the world

Where to watch horse racing live online

Right now, the best place for New York horse racing enthusiasts to watch races live is on the TVG horse racing app. The TVG mobile app and desktop platform provide easy access to horse race betting and live streams for most major races, including international events.

All you have to do is log-in to the TVG site or app after downloading it on your phone and you’ll be able to browse a wide selection of live horse races whenever you please. Make an account and you’ll be able to place bets using this site as well.

Horse betting tips and advice

  • Know your picks. Don’t just place random wagers on horses that you think look cool. Dig deep into the data and see how a horse has been performing recently and who their jockey is.
  • Box your bets. If you plan to partake in exotic horse race bets, be sure to box them and cover multiple horse outcomes unless you are incredibly confident.
  • Do your homework and get plenty of background information on the race itself. Details on the race can tell you more about which horses are most likely to win or the conditions you might expect during the race itself.
  • Diversify your wagers by making multiple bets rather than putting all of your gambling eggs into a single basket.

More on horse racing in NY

New York is home to one of the biggest races in the country: the Belmont Stakes. Belmont Park is a great place to catch a horserace and participate in a few wagers if you’re so inclined. But it’s also home to the Travers Stakes, which is the most important and famous non-Triple Crown race in the United States.

In total, New York features 11 active horse tracks, including one near the Big Apple itself. There are also plenty of off-track betting locations. Check out all these places to get the full New York horse race betting experience.