The commonwealth of Pennsylvania is home to lively horse racing and breeding industries and residents have lots of choices when it comes to online wagering.
As a result most providers of online and mobile betting on horse races, known as advance-deposit wagering, accept Pennsylvanians as customers, including the four biggest national providers: TVG.com; TwinSpires.com; NYRABets.com; and Xpressbet.com.
The state’s racetracks also have providers specifically aimed at residents, including Hollywoodraces.com (Penn National and The Meadows); ParxRacing.com (Parx); and ibetmohegan (Pocono Downs). Philadelphia Racetrack and Presque Isle also offer online and mobile wagering via affiliate sites of TVG.com and Twinspires.com, respectively.
You must be 18 or older to place online horse bets in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Horse Race Betting Sites & Offers
|Racebooks||Welcome Offer for Pennsylvania||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|
|1/ST BET||$100 sign-up bonus||Rewards points every Tuesday and other weekly offers|
|AmWager||$300 deposit match||Daily cash rewards|
|FanDuel Racing||Get 100% bonus up to $50 + get a $10 Sportsbook credit||10% bonus on win bets|
|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 Pennsylvania?
Horse racing betting features for Pennsylvania
- Nyra Bets Pennsylvania Features:
- Free live video streaming (HD live and replay) on Thoroughbred, Harness and Quarter horse racing
- Free handicapping tips
- Swap positions quickly for Exacta, Tri & Supers
- Weekly live money handicapping contests with cash prizes
- TVG Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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
- AmWager Pennsylvania Features:
- Advanced wagering structuring tools. Dutching, ABC method, Rank betting.
- Fair Value Exacta Grid (allows you to quickly see exacta bets that have been over bet or under bet based on the win pool)
- FanDuel Pennsylvania Features:
- Cash in with Win Bet insurance
- Live streaming (+200 tracks around the world)
- Best bets of the day
- 1/ST Bet Pennsylvania Features:
- Up-to-date news about upcoming races
- Unlimited access to the BETMIX products: Toteboarding, Free Daily Race Analysis, etc.
- Hollywood Races Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania Features:
- Horse Racing Contests Daily for free
- Refer-a-Friend Bonus.
Horse bet types available online
In Pennsylvania, 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
Pennsylvania Horse Betting Overview
The Keystone State was a relative latecomer to legal horse racing, with the state Legislature passing the Race Horse Industry Reform Act to replace “outdated, Puritanical laws against racing and gambling” in 1959, according to the Pennsylvania Racing Association.
But racing was part of the state’s fabric dating at least to the early 1800s. Harness racing, known as the “farmers’ sport,” began on back country roads and village streets using wooden buggies as carts, it said. That ended in 1820 when the sport was banned. But those clever farmers found a loophole in the law by racing trotters, which were used for work and transportation and therefore exempt from the ban, and that sport soon became wildly popular.
After legalization, two new racetracks vied to be the first to present live racing to Pennsylvanians, with Liberty Bell racetrack in northeast Philadelphia winning the race and opening in June 1963. The Meadows in western Pennsylvania, about 25 miles from Pittsburgh, opened later the same month.
Thoroughbred racing in Pennsylvania
Thoroughbred racing was approved under a separate law in 1968, prompting Liberty Bell to build a new mile dirt track outside the harness track so both breeds could share the facility. That also touched off the construction of multiple competing racetracks at the same time other forms of gambling were arriving, including a state lottery in 1971 and the legalization of Las Vegas-style gambling in Atlantic City, in neighboring New Jersey.
Many tracks closed in subsequent years, including Liberty Bell. And gambling opportunities in the state proliferated, with the approval of casinos, a state lottery, online wagering, and, most recently, sports betting.
The state nonetheless retains one of the strongest racing programs of any state, with six state-of-the-art racing and gaming complexes racing around the calendar – Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park), which also conducts the state’s signature race, the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, in September; Penn National Race Course; and Presque Isle Downs for thoroughbreds and The Meadows; Philadelphia Racetrack; and Pocono Downs for harness racing. Harness racing also is offered at 16 agricultural county fairs from July through September.
The state also has a thriving horse breeding industry.
Fun fact about horse racing in Pennsylvania
In an interview with author Linda Dougherty, jockey Tony Black recalled a unique feature of the Liberty Bell racetrack: A “shared stretch” in which thoroughbreds and harness horses raced over the same surface because there wasn’t enough room to avoid cannibalizing a big portion of the usually crowded apron. “The trotting track was made of limestone and the track for the flats was dirt, and it tied in around the three-sixteenths pole,” he said in a 2018 interview. “When you rode in a race and you hit that spot, it was never a smooth transition, and you could feel the difference in the base.”
Popular horse racing events to bet on in Pennsylvania
- The Pennsylvania Derby
- Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Handicap
- Penn Mile Stakes
- Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes
- The Kentucky Derby
- Belmont Stakes
- Preakness Stakes
- Breeders’ Cup
- Travers Stakes
- Pacific Classic Stakes
- Haskell Invitational
- Dubai World Cup
- Melbourne Cup
- Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
- Grand National
Horse Race Tracks in Pennsylvania
- Philadelphia Park
- Penn National Racecourse
- Presque Isle Downs
- The Meadows
- Philadelphia Racetrack
- Pocono Downs
Yes, you can. Horse racing betting is legal for Pennsylvania customers 18 or older. You can bet on horse races online and in person at the track.
Yes, Pennsylvania allows horse racing betting online and through mobile apps.
No, the BetMGM Horse Racing App is not allowed in Pennsylvania. It’s available In Ohio, Florida, and Louisiana.