What is simulcast horse racing?

Simulcasting is the term coined to describe the practice of delivering live horse races in real time to distant locations, enabling bettors who are far from the racetrack to wager on the contests.

In the USA, the practice was enabled by the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978, which legalized interstate betting on horse races in states that authorize the practice. It was passed by Congress as off-track-betting (OTB) facilities were beginning to appear in various states, notably New York and Nevada, and made it clear that such activities were legal as long as the racetracks and horsemen offering the signal authorized the practice.

Simulcasting resulted in an immediate increase in handle for tracks that offered it and soon became an industry standard. Today, bettors can legally wager on races run around the world as long as their state or country approves the practice.

The law predated the internet, but in some ways, it paved the way for online betting by making it clear that bettors were allowed to legally wager on races run outside their jurisdiction. You can wager on horse races online in these U.S. states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, MassachusettsMichigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

With the rise of online betting, many states have pared back their OTB networks, but the infrastructure developed for simulcasting still is used by gambling websites to tap into betting pools and livestream horse races in real-time.