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What Does Off-Track Betting Mean?

Learn what off-track betting is and where you can find off-track betting in the US. If there are no off-track betting venues near you, fear not, as we also examine the sportsbooks with the closest odds to what you can find at any top off-track betting establishment.

Live horse racing betting possesses an irresistible allure, captivating both avid enthusiasts and casual bettors alike. Feeling the adrenaline rush as you stand at the edge of the grandstand, watching your chosen horse gallop toward victory, is a feeling only bettors understand. But now, you don’t have to be physically at the track to bet on horses – and that’s thanks to OTB betting.

Back in the day, the demand for horse racing betting kept growing, and the fact that not everyone could make it to the horse track started becoming more and more significant. Because of that, the industry came up with a solution.

A solution that now allows millions of bettors to bet on race tracks from every corner of the world from the comfort of their living rooms. A game-changing solution that is now known as off-track betting.

What Is OTB in Sports?

OTB is an abbreviation commonly used among American gambling enthusiasts that can mean two entirely different things. Some use the OTB abbreviation to define Off The Board betting, describing a sporting event for which sportsbooks do not accept bets at a particular moment.

For another group, typically fond of horse racing and greyhound racingOTB stands for Off-Track Betting. This is a form of sanctioned sports betting involving horse racing and greyhound racing conducted outside the actual race tracks.

Example of How Off-Track Betting Works

Thanks to the growing popularity of horse racing and the never-ceasing development of technology, secure licensed sportsbooks started accepting bets for horse races and greyhound races from race tracks from every corner of the world.

Here are two ways bettors can participate in off-track betting:

  • OTB through simulcast – Simulcast off-track betting involves real-time broadcasts of horse and greyhound races to remote locations, allowing bettors far from the racetrack to place wagers on the events. Placing an off-track simulcast wager is simple. Just tell the mutuel teller at the window the name of the track and race number, and then choose your preferred type of wager and the amount of money.
  • OTB through licensed online betting sites – The other form, gaining rapid popularity among younger generations of horse racing enthusiasts, is placing wagers through a licensed online betting site. To place a wager on horse racing or greyhound racing through an online betting site, create an account, make your first deposit, and proceed by selecting the horse race, the type of wager you want to place, and the amount.

BetMGM Horse Racing Banner

Off-Track Betting Legality

After being officially legalized in New York in 1970, OTB has experienced remarkable progress and growth. Today there is a considerable amount of fully licensed venues all over the country where people of legal age can place bets on horse racing and greyhound racing events from all over the world.

However, bettors must acknowledge that the legality of OTB can differ from one state to another, and regulations may undergo various changes over time.

Here are some of the best OTB locations where you can participate in the thrill of OTB on horse racing and greyhound racing. And if you struggle to find a convenient location nearby, you can still join the action by exploring our list of top-rated online sportsbooks offering the best OTB odds.

  • Pennsylvania – Known for its affinity towards gambling, the great state of Pennsylvania offers its bettors some of the best OTB locations, such as the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Brandywine Turf Club, Northeast Turf Club, South Philly Turf Club, and Valley Forge Turf Club.
  • Florida – As a Florida resident, you can engage in OTB betting at almost 20 different locations. The most popular options include Fort Pierce Jai-Alai & Poker, Palm Beach Kennel Club, and Tampa Bay Downs, a well-known horse racing location in Central West Florida.
  • New Jersey – The Garden State holds a special place on the American gambling map, so it is no surprise that bettors from this state can jump on the OTB bandwagon at several great locations. The list of best OTB locations in New Jersey includes BetMGM Race & Sportsbook at the Borgata, Favorites at Hillsborough, Favorites at Woodbridge, and Winners Bayonne.
  • Illinois – Another great state where bettors enjoy the privilege of experiencing the thrill of betting at almost 30 highly reputable OTB locations. From simulcast betting at Arlington Park Horse Racing to the famous Shooter’s Bar & Grill at Don Carter Lanes, if you are in The Prairie State, then chances are the OTB Gods are smiling upon you.
  • Delaware – Delaware is home to three live racing locations, each able to serve as a simulcast OTB parlor. So, whether you opt for Delaware Park, Dover Downs, or Harrington Raceway, rest assured that you can bet on horse racing events from across the globe.

States That Allow OTB

Here is a list of all the US states that allow OTB either through OTB remote locations or online betting sites:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Off-Track Betting on Horse Racing

Horse race betting sets itself apart from wagering on other sports, such as baseball, because of its unique types of bets. Although these bets may appear unfamiliar to the untrained horse-racing eye, in most cases they are not overly complicated to understand and learn.

Here are the most common OTB horse racing types of bets and the meaning behind them:

  • Win – Placing a wager on a horse to win the race.
  • Place – Wagering on a horse to finish in first or second place.
  • Show – Placing a bet on a horse to finish in the top three positions.
  • Exacta – Placing a bet on the two horses that will finish first and second in the correct order.
  • Quinella – Placing a bet on two horses to finish the race first and second in any order.
  • Trifecta – Predicting the first three horses in the correct finishing order.
  • Superfecta – Picking the first four horses in the correct finishing order.
  • Daily Double – Placing a bet on the winners of two consecutive races.
  • Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 – Picking the winners of three, four, five, or six successive races.
  • Show Parlay – A multi-race wager in which the bettor selects horses in each race to show, and the winnings from each consecutive show payoff are reinvested into the next race.

DK Horse Lobby

Off-Track Betting on Greyhound Racing

Compared to horse racing, greyhound racing is far less popular. The fact that bettors can find only two active greyhound racetracks in the United States speaks volumes about its limited presence. However, greyhound racing enthusiasts still have the option to bet online.

Unlike other sports where bettors can bet on Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors and play against the house, greyhound betting is a form of parimutuel wagering. That means that bets of the same type are combined into a pool, and payouts are determined based on the total amount wagered on each dog after deductions.

Similar to horse racing, OTB on greyhound racing events features a variety of distinctive straight and exotic wagers that add excitement to the wagering experience. Let’s explore these betting options and their meanings.

  • Win – Placing a bet on a greyhound to win the race.
  • Place – Betting on a greyhound to finish either first or second.
  • Show – Placing a wager on a greyhound to finish among the top three.
  • Quinella – Picking two greyhounds to finish first and second in any order.
  • Exacta – Choosing which two greyhounds will finish first and second in the correct order.
  • Trifecta – Predicting the first three greyhounds in the correct finishing order.
  • Superfecta – Predicting the first four greyhounds in the correct finishing order.
  • Daily Doubles – Bets on the winners of two consecutive races.
  • Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 6 – A wager that involves predicting the winners of three, four, or six successive races.

Betting Apps Offering Off-Track Betting Odds

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Luckily for bettors interested in off-track betting, the selection of betting apps offering off-track betting odds for horse racing and greyhound racing events is pretty abundant. Thanks to these apps, bettors can enjoy the convenience of checking horse racing results, placing wagers, and live streaming both horse and greyhound racing events.

Here are some of the best betting apps offering off-track betting odds:

FanDuel Racing Lobby

History & Future of Off-Track Betting

The year 1970 holds immense significance in the history of off-track betting. It marked the green light for the state of New York, making it the second state to offer OTB.

However, the following years were not without challenges. Attendance numbers at the racetracks started to decline significantly, leading to a growing need to find a middle ground.

In 1978, the middle ground came in the form of an act. As per the Interstate Horse Racing Act, an agreement was made to ensure that no OTB operator would be located within 60 miles of any racetrack. Additionally, it introduced a rule mandating that a portion of the profits from an OTB would be allocated to the state, the tracks, and the horse owners.

Today, the off-track betting industry is thriving, although the attendance numbers at the racetracks have not been skyrocketing in recent years. While most people relish having entire racebooks at their fingertips, some still crave the thrill of a day at the race track. Simulcast off-track betting can elevate that thrill to a whole new level.


How does off-track betting work?

Off-track betting allows bettors to place wagers on horse racing and greyhound racing events without being physically present at the racetrack. OTB can be done through licensed OTB facilities or online betting sites.

When did off-track betting become illegal?

OTB remained illegal in the USA until the latter half of the 20th century, specifically until 1970 when New York became the first state to officially legalize it.

Is off-track betting legit?

OTB is legit as long as you place your bets through a licensed OTB remote location or a licensed online sportsbook.

Is OTB legal in Texas?

Horse racing and greyhound racing are both legal in Texas. However, bettors only have the option to place wagers on such events in person.

How do you do off-track betting?

OTB can be done through simulcast at licensed remote OTB locations or through a licensed online betting site.