The sport of horse racing is holding its own in Ohio, with six racetracks providing a mix of thoroughbred, quarter horse, and Standardbred racing.
Given the state’s parimutuel-friendly laws, it’s no surprise that virtually all providers of advance deposit wagering (ADW) offering online betting on horse races accept Ohioans as customers, including the four biggest operators: TVG.com; TwinSpires.com; NYRABets.com; and Xpressbet.com. These sites and smaller operators that do business in the state offer a variety of signup bonuses and rewards for play, so it pays to shop around before you dive in.
You must be 18 or older to place online horse bets in Ohio.
Ohio Horse Race Betting Sites & Offers
|Racebooks||Welcome Offer for Ohio||Other Promos|
|Nyra Bets||$200 deposit match||Odds boosters, daily offers|
|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|
|Xpressbet||$100 sign-up bonus||XB Rewards loyalty program|
|123bet||$1230 new member bonus||Refer-a-Friend bonus: get $50|
|1/ST BET||$100 sign-up bonus||Rewards points every Tuesday and other weekly offers|
|BetMGM||100% match up to $200||Insurance promos|
|DRF||Get a $200 bonus on the first deposit||Earn up to $50 every week|
|Hollywoodraces.com||$200 Sign Up Bonus||WINsurance Offers: refund up to $20|
|WatchandWager.com||Bonus up to $25||The weekly 3-2-1 Bonus, no maximum payouts on cashback|
How to claim a horse racing bet promo in Ohio?
Horse racing betting features for Ohio
- Nyra Bets Ohio Features:
- Free live video streaming (HD live and replay)
- Free handicapping tips
- Swap positions quickly for Exacta, Tri & Supers
- Weekly live money handicapping contests with cash prizes
- TVG Ohio 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 Ohio 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 & 1/ST Bet Ohio 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
- Up-to-date news about upcoming races
- Unlimited access to the BETMIX products
- BetMGM Ohio Features:
- Horse racing’s guide
- The BetMGM Rewards loyalty program
- DRF Ohio Features:
- Unlimited DRF Classic and Formulator Past Performances
- Free Beyer Speed Figures
- Free DRF expert picks
- 123bet Ohio Features:
- No fees Friday (deposit $10 or more on Fridays via credit card or Paynearme)
- Loyalty Reward Points
- Handicapping products from Equibase (available only on the web)
- Hollywood Races Ohio Features:
- Free Expert Picks
- Loyalty program for top players (earn up to $200 in bonuses each week with the 2 VIP promotions)
- Watch and Wager Ohio Features:
- Horse Racing Contests Daily for free
- Refer-a-Friend Bonus
Horse bet types available online
In Ohio, 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 a 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 & Hollywood Races
- Bitcoin: AmWager via BitPay
Ohio Horse Betting Overview
The Buckeye State has a long racing legacy that dates to at least 1827 when quarter horses races were staged on what was then called Water Street in Cleveland.
Harness racing of standardbreds later moved to the forefront, becoming a popular drawing card at the Cuyahoga County Fair, according to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. The first organized harness racing meet was held by the Cleveland Jockey Club from Aug. 27-31, 1850, at the Forest City course, with purses ranging from $40 to $100, it said.
Interest in thoroughbred racing grew in the 1920s, leading some Ohio tracks to shift gears to the thoroughbred breed and host longer races, including the long-gone Maple Heights Park racetrack which resurrected what has become the state’s signature race, the Ohio Derby for 3-year-olds.
Six tracks remain in business today, three of which feature thoroughbreds and/or quarter horses: JACK Thistledown in North Randall, which usually campaigns thoroughbreds only from late April through mid-October; Mahoning Valley Race Course in Youngstown, which typically runs thoroughbred and quarter horse races from October through April; and Belterra Park in Cincinnati conducts live racing from late April to early October.
Racetracks with standardbred harness racing are Miami Valley Racing & Gaming in Lebanon, which typically races from January through early March and again from early April to early May; Northfield Park in Northfield, which runs virtually year-round; and Scioto Downs in Columbus, which typically runs from mid-May through mid-September.
Ohio also is home to a year-round simulcasting parlor, Cedar Downs in Sandusky.
In addition to wagering on horse racing, Ohio law allows both tribal casinos and commercial casinos in Columbus, Toledo, Cleveland, and Cincinnati; sports betting at casinos, sports teams, stadiums, bars, and restaurants; and certain types of charitable gambling.
Fun fact about horse racing in Ohio
Inaugurated in 1876 at Chester Park, a racetrack in Cincinnati, the Ohio Derby was canceled after its 1883 running. The 1 1/18th-mile race for 3-year-olds was revived in 1924 by the Maple Heights Park racetrack with future Hall of Fame inductee and that year’s Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold claiming victory. Today it is the state’s signature thoroughbred race, run at JACK Thistledown each year in June.
Popular horse racing events to bet on in Ohio
- The Ohio Derby
- Steel Valley Sprint
- The Best of Ohio Stakes
- Cheryl S. White Memorial Stakes
- The Greg Veit Scarlet & Gray Handicap
- The Kentucky Derby
- Belmont Stakes
- Preakness Stakes
- Breeders’ Cup
- Travers Stakes
- Dubai World Cup
- Melbourne Cup
- Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
- Grand National
Horse Race Tracks in Ohio
- JACK Thistledown Racino in North Randall
- Mahoning Valley Race Course in Youngstown
- Belterra Park in Cincinnati
- Miami Valley Racing & Gaming in Lebanon
- Northfield Park in Northfield
- Scioto Downs in Columbus
- Van Wert County Fair (Harness Racing)
- Beulah Park in Grove City (closed in 2014)
Online Horse Betting in Ohio FAQs
Yes, Ohio allows horse racing betting online and through mobile apps. The four biggest ADW providers – TVG.com, TwinSpires.com, NYRABets.com, and Xpressbet.com – operate in the state.
Yes, the BetMGM Horse Racing App is allowed in Ohio. It’s also available in Florida and Louisiana.
Yes, OTB is legal in Ohio. Residents of the state can enjoy a year-round simulcasting parlor, Cedar Downs in Sandusky.