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Online Horse Betting in 2021/2022: Guides, Sites & Offers

Best Horse Betting Sites Online

Bet on horse races with the top licensed sites in 2021/2022.
Horse Betting Site
Rating
Bonus Features
Free Bet Offer
  • 4.8 / 5
    4.8 rating based on 1 rating
    4.8 stars
    Bet365
    £100
    Bet Credits
    Terms: Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds 1/5 (1.20), bet (£5) and payment method exclusions (Paypal, e-wallets etc.) apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
  • 5 / 5
    5.0 rating based on 1 rating
    5 stars
    William Hill
    £30
    Free Bets
    Terms: Enter William Hill promo code during registration to receive free bets. You’ll get 2 x £15 free bets to use when you place a £10 bet on horse racing. Odds must be at 1/2 or higher and you’ll have to deposit with a debit card or bank transfer to qualify. T&Cs apply.
  • 4.9 / 5
    4.9 rating based on 1 rating
    4.9 stars
    Unibet
    £40
    Free Bet
    Terms: 18+ begambleaware.org. New customer only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if the first racing bet loses. Wagering requirements: all sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the racing bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Full T&Cs apply.
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Top 3 Horse Betting Mobile Sites

Online Horse Betting: How to Start, What Bets to Place

If you’re betting on a single race the most straightforward bet to place online is the win bet – you pick your horse and you’re asked for your stake. If it wins you get the stake times the odds of the horse, plus your stake back. A simple example is if you put £5/$5 on a 2/1 horse, you’ll get £15/$15 back if it wins (£5/$5 times two, plus your returned stake).

Also popular is the each-way bet, where you bet on a horse to win or finish in the places. You get a percentage of the odds for the place part of the each-way bet – typically a quarter or fifth. A £5/$5 each-way bet on a 10/1 horse that wins would return £70/$70 on a race offering 1/5 odds on the place; £50/$50 for the win, £10/$10 for the place and your returned stake. If your horse only places then you’d get £15/$15 back with £10/$10 for the place and £5/$5 part of your stake returned.

In the US, the betting system is similar to the most popular bets: the win, place (horse finishes first or second) and the show (horse finishes first second or third).

You can also try a forecast or exacta where you pick the horses to finish first and second, a reverse forecast or simple quinella where you pick horses to finish first or second in either order – stake is double the cost of a straight forecast – or a trifecta where you pick the horses you think will finish first, second and third. You can also try a superfecta bet, more common in North America, where you pick the first four horses to finish in the correct sequence.

There are also a number of combination bets where you try to pick winners or horses that place in a number of different races. The Yankee is a popular one in the UK – four selections consisting of 11 bets: six doubles, four trebles, and a fourfold accumulator – where two must win, or place if it’s an each-way Yankee, to get a return. A £1/$1 win Yankee costs £11/$11, based on the 11 bets, and it is believed to have been named after a World War Two American soldier that placed a small bet in the UK while on service and due to the multiple roll-overs won back hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

How to engage in online horse betting if you are new to this:

  • Firstly, find the relevant racebook (the licensed, of course) that offers horse racing odds, lines and markets. Check the list of the trusted platforms for the US or UK here. You may also download one of the best apps to place horse bets directly from your mobile device.
  • Then register with your personal details like name, address, social security number or ID. You have to be a verified punter (18+ in UK or 21+ in USA) before you can sign up, bet on horses online, deposit and withdraw money. 
  • Take advantage of the offers by the horse race betting sites and apps in the USA or UK. Deposit money and carefully read terms and conditions before claiming any bonuses and using promo codes.
  • If you made the right predictions and won the bet, your winnings are credited to your betting account after the event ends. Check our horse racing guide to learn about betting on horses.

Picking Your Horse Racing Bets

When you make your selection, always remember the term horses for courses check your selection’s form on the track, form at the distance being run, and don’t forget the jockey’s form. The more you know the better your chances of winning the bet on horse races online, and while there’ll always be a shock in the sport, the more research you do the less chance you’ll have of picking the wrong horse. Learn how to find the best and free horse betting picks and predictions provided by top racing handicappers.

Many of the big races such as the Derby and the Kentucky Derby are competed for by horses of the same age and carrying the same weight, but those are the exception. Most racing involves competitors of varying ages and abilities with a handicap system in operation in a bid to equalise the competition, so always take that into account when betting horses online.

Information is your key to gambling success so use horse betting websites such as Racing Post and Sporting Life in the UK and Ireland for in-depth analysis of the form and to get the views of the tipsters, with BloodHorse and drf.com offering a similar horse wagering service in the US. When you’ve picked your horse, oddschecker will save you the time of going through all the gambling websites to find the best odds for your selection, and they’ll direct you to sites you need.

Horse Competitions & Racing Events

There are four primary horse race types – flat racing, steeplechasing, harness racing, and endurance. Horse races are divided into categories in a bid to make them more competitive, ranging from a maiden for horses who haven’t won a race, right up to pattern races like the Derby and other Group One events – also known as stakes races in the US.

The vast majority of the horses competing are thoroughbreds – bred from a pure breed sire (father) and dam (mother) – and they can be traced back to a handful of horses such as Godolphin, an Arabian breed from the 18th century.

Flat races are where runners race over a set distance on either turf, dirt or synthetic track. They are run most days in both the UK and Ireland, and in the USA. The pinnacle of flat racing are the classics, open to three-year-olds, with three in the US making up the Triple Crown – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Breeders Cup – and the dream of all trainers is a thoroughbred that can win all three. The last horse to do this was Justify in 2018.

In the UK, there are five classics, the most famous of all being the Derby, run over a mile-and-a-half at Epsom. The oldest classic is the St Leger, run at Doncaster, with the other three being the Oaks (Epsom) and the 1000 and 2000 Guineas (Newmarket). As well as the English classics there are similar versions in Ireland, all run at the Curragh racecourse, and there are various big flat meetings run in the UK over the year, most famously the Royal Ascot meeting run over five days in June.

Free Tip: In general, younger horses race on the flat and older horses over the jumps.

Jumps racing is very popular among betting enthusiasts in the UK and Ireland with horses usually running over further distances than the flat – two miles and up. There are two standard types, hurdles and steeplechase, with hurdles a set type of fences to clear, whereas steeplechases are a series of different fence and ditch obstacles. 

The most famous steeplechase is the Grand National which features larger fences than a typical racecourse. 

The most famous jumps festival is the Cheltenham Festival run over four days in March, with the Gold Cup the feature event.

Another type of racing popular for betting on in North America is harness racing, where the horse pulls a driver in a two-wheeled cart called a sulky. 

There are two main types, trotting and pacing, with the difference based on the horses’ leg movements. Important annual races in the USA include the Hambletonian, part of a Triple Crown for Trotters, and the Little Brown, part of the Triple Crown for Pacers; in Canada, an important event is the Gold Cup and Saucer, run at the Charlottetown Driving Park.

Big Online Betting Horse Races

The biggest betting horse race in the world is the Grand National at Aintree, a four-mile test of the jumping and stamina of some of the top horses in the UK and Ireland. Around £150million/$210million is bet on the outcome with many people placing their only bets of the year on the race, with selections based on horses’ names, jockeys’ silks, even the colour of the animals, rather than any attempt to analyse the form of each horse. Approximately, 65-70% of all horse bets are placed online. 

The Epsom Derby and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, part of the four-day Cheltenham Festival, are also popular betting races, with the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Classic the top two in the US. 

Other big betting events include Royal Ascot – a four-day festival of Flat racing in June at the famous track in Surrey, with the Queen usually attending – and several events in Ireland including the Punchestown Festival. The big international races that attract more than their fair share of gambling interests include the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Melbourne Cup in Australia, and the Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Horse Betting Offers

If you’re weighing up opening an account at a horse gambling website, don’t pick the first one you see. There’s plenty to choose from and they all offer generous bonuses for new horse betting customers, with a range of free bets and various promotional offers when you open an online account.

In the UK try Paddy Power, Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill.

In the USA some of the best legal horse wagering platforms are: Twinspires, Pointsbet, TVG, Amwager, DRF Bet, NyraBets.

So, look through who’s offering sign-up bonuses, free bets, deposit bonuses, and pick the one that’s offering a deal that suits you best.

Quick History Of Betting On Horses

Horse racing dates back to ancient times, with chariot racing one of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine sports. With racing comes betting, and both came to prominence in Britain in the 17th century with the establishment of the Newmarket racecourse in 1636 in Suffolk, England, with King Charles II a notable competitor who became the only reigning monarch to ride a winner. 

Soon after, Salisbury in New York established the United States’ own ‘Newmarket’ track, with professional organisation of racing controlled by the Jockey Club in the UK, established in 1750, before the American version was formed in 1894.

Flat racing dominates the US sport, predominantly on dirt tracks, while in the UK and Ireland turf racing is king, with the flat seen as the summer version of the sport and jump racing prominent in the winter the first recorded example of a jumps race was in County Cork, Ireland, in 1752. 

Originally confined to race tracks, gambling on racing has come a long way since the first bookmaker, Ogden, stood at the Newmarket track in 1795, with betting websites effectively allowing people to place a bet on any horse racing event around the world from their own home – dependent on any local restrictions.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Betting On Horse Races Online:

Is it legal to bet horses online in the US, UK, Canada, Australia? 

The UK and Australia allow anyone aged 18 or over to open an online account with no restriction on horse race betting, however, the different states of Australia have different laws regarding other online betting. It is legal to bet online in Canada so long as the gambling site is based overseas, and in the US online horse race betting is now legal in most states.

What is an advance deposit wagering system (ADWS)? 

An ADWS is a form of gambling where you must fund your betting account before you are allowed to place bets. It is the principle of online gambling sites, where you deposit an amount of money in your betting account and are only allowed to place bets when there are funds in that account.    

What is a Horse Racing Program?

A horse racing program is effectively a history of each runner in miniature, detailing the previous form of competitors in a horse race. It includes details such as finishing places, when they ran, ground conditions of the races run, weight carried and, on many online sites, videos of those races run.

How to stream horse races live in the US and UK? 

Most horse gambling sites offer live coverage of the horse races you’re betting on online provided you bet a stated minimum amount of money. NBC Sports and the TVG2 channels offer live coverage of US racing, while in the UK and Ireland, Sky and Racing TV offer live coverage of all races, with ITV offering terrestrial coverage of some of the big events. 

What is Endurance Racing?

Endurance Racing is another popular sport, with different events based on the age of the horses competing and the distance. Endurance races are typically over 40km on natural terrain rather than at a race track, with obstacles like rivers and hedges traversed.

Key Horse Betting Guides & FAQs

View All Guides
What is an exacta bet in horse racing?
An exacta bet in horse racing, also known as a perfecta, is a type of wager that requires a…
Read More
What is a quinella bet in horse racing?
A quinella in horse betting is similar to an exacta bet in that it requires a bettor to…
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What is a Daily Double bet in horse racing?
The Daily Double requires a bettor to select the winners of two successive races. At one…
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What is a trifecta bet in horse racing and how it works?
A trifecta bet requires a bettor to select the top three finishers in order in a single…
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A superfecta bet in horse racing explained with examples
A superfecta requires a bettor to select the top four finishers in order in a single race.…
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Super High-5 bet in horse racing: how does it work?
A Super High-5, also known as a Super Hi-5 or pentafecta bet in hporse racing, requires a…
Read More

Racing Calendar & Free Bets

Date Event Horse Track Top Bookmaker

2021

Mid-March Cheltenham Gold Cup Evesham Road, Gloucestershire, GL50 4SH Bet365
November Betfair Chase at Haydock Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, WA12, 0HQ
Saturday, 27 November The Ladbrokes Trophy Racecourse Road, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 7NZ Ladbrokes

2022

May Ascot Victoria Cup Ascot Racecourse, High Street, Ascot, SL5 7JX
November/December The Becher Chase Aintree Racecourse, Ormskirk Road, Aintree, Liverpool, L9 5AS William Hill
April Grand National Meeting Aintree, Liverpool, L9 5AS William Hill

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