Illinois law permits residents to bet on horse and dog racing and parimutuel wagering. In addition, Illinois allows casinos, sports betting, cardrooms, and daily fantasy sports. The state also has a lottery.
The four major providers of online wagering on horse racing – TVG.com, TwinSpires.com, Xpressbet, and NYRABets.com – all allow Illinois residents to open what is known as advance deposit wagering (ADW) accounts, as does the home-grown ClubHawthorne.com. All offer signup bonuses and rewards programs, so shop around before deciding on a provider.
You must be 18 or older to place online horse bets in Illinois.
Illinois Horse Race Betting Sites & Offers
|Racebooks||Welcome Offer for Illinois||Other Promos|
|TVG||Get up to $200 back||Get a $25 Bonus for every friend you refer|
|TwinSpires||$200 sign-up offer||Free play daily & weekly options|
|Nyra Bets||$200 deposit match||Odds boosters, daily offers|
|PointsBet||2 Risk-Free Bets up to $2,000||Free bets for points|
|Xpressbet||$100 sign-up bonus||XB Rewards loyalty program|
|FanDuel Racing||Get a 100% bonus up to $50||10% bonus on win bets|
|1/ST BET||$100 sign-up bonus||Rewards points every Tuesday and other weekly offers|
|Hawthorne Race Course||Bet $50, Get $50||Membership Benefits (2,5% back on wagers)|
How to claim a horse racing bet promo in Illinois?
Horse racing betting features for Illinois
- Nyra Bets Illinois Features:
- Free live video streaming (HD live and replay) on Thoroughbred, Harness and Quarter horse racing and race replays nationwide
- Free handicapping tips
- Swap positions quickly for Exacta, Tri & Supers
- Weekly live money handicapping contests with cash prizes
- TVG Illinois Features:
- TVG Expert Picks for everyday
- Free Past Performances Program
- Live streams from tracks around the US and beyond
- Money Back Special on select races
- TwinSpires Illinois Features:
- First Race Freeplay: get $100 in Free Bets
- 15% boost on a winning Trifecta bet every Tuesday
- Exacta insurance: get a bet back of up to $10
- Live races and highlights of previous races, both on the website and the app
- Bet Back offers (receive a refund for your bet if the horse you bet on to win the race finishes in second or third)
- Daily Double bets
- Xpressbet Illinois Features:
- Horse racing’s leading loyalty program (receive two XB Rewards Points for every dollar you wager)
- Cash prizes in regular handicapping contests
- Deposit by mail
- Bet the horse races over the phone
- FanDuel Illinois Features:
- Cash in with Win Bet insurance
- Live streaming (+200 tracks around the world)
- Best bets of the day
- Special offer for visitors of Fairmount Park
- 1st/bet Illinois Features:
- Up-to-date news about upcoming races
- Unlimited access to the BETMIX products: Toteboarding, Free Daily Race Analysis, and ‘Race of the Day’ Past Performance
Horse bet types available online
In Illinois, you can place different types of horse wagers. The most popular online bets are
- Win (the horse you bet on must come first)
- Place (the horse must finish first or second)
- Show (the horse must come either first, second, or third)
- Win Place (places a win and a place bet in one bet)
- Win Show (places a win and show bet in one bet)
- Win Place Show (aka “across the board”; combines Win, Place and Show into one bet)
- Exacta (you bet on horses to come first and second in that order)
- Quinella (the same as exacta, but horses can finish in any order for you to win the bet)
- Trifecta (three horses should finish first, second and third in that order)
- Superfecta (the same as trifecta but here you bet on four horses)
- Super High 5 (you have to choose the winner of five races in a row)
- Grand Slam (pick a horse to finish in the top three in three straight races, capped by the winner of the fourth race in the sequence)
- Parlays (combine multiple selections on the same ticket, even if the races aren’t in sequential order).
- Credit and Debit Cards
- ACH Bank Transfer / eCheck
- Wire Transfer
- Green Dot
- Check or Money Order
- By mail: Xpressbet
Illinois Horse Betting Overview
Illinois is another state with a long history of horse racing that is just hanging on to that heritage following the closure of its marquee racetrack.
Owner Churchill Downs Inc. sold Arlington Park to the Chicago Bears in 2021 with the expectation that the team will tear down the racetrack and build a new stadium on the 326-acre site in suburban Arlington Heights.
Racing has been part of the sporting landscape in the Prairie State since the early 1830s and at one point in the 1930s had six thoroughbred and harness racetracks, more than any other U.S. metropolitan area.
Two remain Hawthorne Park in Stickney, about 12 miles southwest of Chicago, and FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (formerly Fairmount Park) in Collinsville, about 15 miles northeast of St. Louis.
Hawthorne, which opened in 1891 and has been rebuilt on the site twice after being destroyed by fire, typically races from early April through late March and from early October through late December, though its calendar will expand with the closure of Arlington Park. The track hosts a handful of graded stakes races, most notably the Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap and the Illinois Derby, both Grade 2s.
Fun fact about horse racing in Illinois
The Arlington Million, the world’s first $1 million thoroughbred race, was run for the first time in 1981. The great John Henry won the inaugural running for trainer Ron McAnally and jockey Bill Shoemaker, all three of whom are enshrined in the National Museum of Horse Racing’s Hall of Fame in Saratoga, N.Y.
Popular horse racing events to bet on in Illinois
- The FanDuel St. Louis Derby
- The Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap
- The Illinois Derby
- The Kentucky Derby
- Belmont Stakes
- Preakness Stakes
- Breeders’ Cup
- Dubai World Cup
- Melbourne Cup
- Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
- Grand National
Horse Race Tracks in Illinois
- Hawthorne Race Course
- Fairmount Park
- Arlington International Racecourse (closed).
Fairmount Park is also known as FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing.
Yes, horse racing is legal in Illinois.
Yes, you can. 18 years is the minimum gambling age in Illinois for playing online and at any of the state’s racetracks.
Live racing in Arlington Park has concluded.
No, the BetMGM Horse Racing App is not allowed in Illinois.