Horse Racing Betting in California

A popular subset of California sports betting is pari-mutuel wagering, aka spending a day at the races and betting on the horses. California is one of the premier horse racing states, with such famous events like the Santa Anita Handicap, Santa Anita Derby, and the Pacific Classic, held at the beautiful Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. With so many prestigious races held in-state, residents who wish to wager on these and other horse racing events should appraise themselves of how and where they can legally bet on horse racing in California.

That’s where this page comes in. Just think of it as a guide to California horse racing betting. Below, we’ll go over whether or not it is legal to bet on the horses at land-based racetracks, where racetracks can be found in the state, and even suggest a couple of online horse betting sites for residents to look into if they don’t feel inclined to travel to a pari-mutuel racetrack. We’ll also go over the different wager types that go into horse racing betting in California.

Horse Racing Betting at Bovada

Best Online Horse Racing Betting Sites For California Residents

There are hundreds of online horse racing betting sites available for sports betting in California, but only a couple that stand out from the crowd. These racebooks are both trustworthy and reputable, providing their players with speedy payouts and impeccable customer service. Not only do they set themselves apart by offering players a steadfast online horse betting site, but they also stand out for what they have to offer. Below, we’ll go further into detail as to what makes these books the best online horse racing betting sites for California residents.

BetOnline - California Residents’ Favorite Online Horse Betting Site

BetOnline RacebookHorse racing has a long and storied history, dating back hundreds of years. One of the first forms of legalized sports betting stems from this hallowed tradition. For years, pari-mutuel wagering could be conducted at racetracks across the country, but they limited bettors to the races being held at that particular track.

Nowadays, bettors can access hundreds of races to wager on, some even being held concurrently in different parts of the country. At BetOnline, you have access to more races across the country than at any other online horse racing betting site. Not only will you have the odds on every thoroughbred racetrack in the US, but you’ll also gain access to events taking place in the UK, Europe, and even Australia.

There isn’t a race you’ll want to bet on that you won’t find at BetOnline. This racebook has it all. They also provide players with a detailed horse racing calendar, so that they can plan out the events they’d like to bet on. If this sounds too good to be true, head on over to BetOnline racebook and see for yourself what they’re really all about.

SportsBetting - Better Bonuses Than Any Other Racebook Around

SportsBetting RacebookAs one of the oldest online gaming sites, has been providing California residents with some of the best and most reliable online horse racing betting lines for nearly two decades. This site not only provides a long list of horse racing events taking place around the globe, but they also provide the most generous bonuses for players to really maximize their pari-mutuel wagers.

For first-time horse bettors using SportsBetting, the book has a special offer. Your first wager can be considered risk-free if you sign up today and select the $25 horse free play credit. If your first wager is successful, congratulations. But if you happen to place a dud the first go around, SportsBetting will re-credit your account up to $25. There’s no losing.

At, you have the chance to earn up to 7% of all your wagers back on a daily basis. This is no gimmick. There are no caps on how much you can receive, and no minimum amount you have to wager in order to receive the rebate. If you’re placing your wagers over the phone, you earn 4% back. If you’re using a computer to place your bets, you’re eligible to receive 7%. These offers and much more are just waiting for you at SportsBetting’s online racebook.

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Is It Legal To Bet On Horse Racing In California?

First and foremost, yes, horse racing betting is completely legal in the state of California. While many different forms of gambling have been outlawed in this state, betting on horse races has not. Pari-mutuel players in California will be happy to note that there are no state laws which prohibit them from using an online horse racing betting site, either.

If you want to read the law in its entirety, you can check California Penal Code section 330, which lists the state pari-mutuel wagering laws. Currently, the only federal law on pari-mutuel wagering has to do with how host tracks choose who can simulcast their events. There are no stipulations that prohibit or restrict California residents from betting on either out-of-state or in-state racing events.

So, to sum up, it is completely legal to bet on the horses in California or any other state. It doesn’t matter if you choose to travel to a track in the beautiful state of California, or you want to place your bets from the comfort of your living room, it is completely legal no matter what you choose.

How Can California Residents Legally Bet On The Triple Crown

Horse Racing Betting at Bovada RacebookThe Triple Crown is the most prestigious series of races in American thoroughbred racing. It is also one of the hardest to win, with only twelve winners in its nearly 100-year history. As the most speculated event in horse racing every year, there are always Triple Crown betting odds for players to choose from.

California residents looking to legally bet on the Triple Crown this year have the option of using a land-based racetrack or an online horse racing betting site. There is no guarantee that the track nearest to you will be simulcasting the Triple Crown, however, so your best resource is the online racebook.

At online horse racing betting sites, you’ll be able to choose from the most varied Triple Crown betting odds. From futures on the prospective horses entering the prestigious event this year to wagers on each individual leg of the title, you’ll find it all at an online racebook. For recommendations on the best horse betting sites available to California residents, there are a couple of reviews at the bottom of this page.

Pari-Mutuel Wager Types For California Residents

There are a number of different ways to bet on horse races, ranging from simple outright bets – known as straight wagers – to what is referred as an “exotic” wager, which is explained in the next section. We’ll go over the most popular horse racing betting types below. It is important to know that each racetrack is different in the state of California, and not all of them will offer every wager type listed here. For the most varied wagering options, your best bet is to check out an online horse racing betting site. There, you’re more likely to be able to place a number of exotic wagers, in addition to more common bets.

The three most common pari-mutuel wager types are called win, place, and show. A “win” bet is the most outright wager you can place. Simply put, you’re choosing who will win the race. When you make a “place” bet, you are wagering on one horse, but it doesn’t matter if they come in first or second. This mitigates the risk of a win bet, but because of this, a successful place bet has a smaller payout.

Similarly, a “show” bet has a much smaller payout than a win or place wager. This is because the horse you bet on can come in first, second, or third for your ticket to be considered a winner. This can be profitable if you’re betting “shows” on several races in one day.

If you’re not sure which of these you’d like, there’s always an “Across the Board” bet. This wager is simple, once you get the hang of it. You can bet a horse across the board, meaning you’ll put an even amount of money on the horse winning, placing, and showing. So, if you put $10 across the board, it would be a $10 win bet, $10 place bet, and a $10 show bet, equally $30 wagered.

If your horse wins the race outright, you collect dividends on all three bets placed. If it places, you win both your place and show wagers. If it shows, you only get paid out on your show bet. Across the board bets just add a little more excitement to pari-mutuel straight wagers.

What Are Exotic Wagers?

Exotic wagers are the more difficult of the pari-mutuel wager types. In order to win these bets, you’ll have to guess the exact order, instead of just guessing whether it will win/place/show. The more difficult the bets are, the higher the potential payout. Exotic wagers are the definition of high risk, high reward.

The first exotic wager we’ll go over is an exacta. Exactas require bettors to choose the horses that will finish in first and second place, respectively. Next, you have a trifecta. Trifectas add one extra horse to the mix, requiring players to choose the first, second, and third place horses in exact order. The superfecta is next, compelling bettors to choose the finishing order of the first four horses in a race.

There are a few more exotic wagers that can be offered, but they vary on specific tracks. These include daily doubles, which allow players to choose the victorious horse in back-to-back races, or a Pick 3, which amps it up a notch and asks bettors to name who the first-place horse will be in 3 straight races.

Players can also box their bets or wheel the horses, upping their odds until they reach a really juicy payout. Most land-based thoroughbred racetracks provide these many wagers, straight or exotic. For the most horse racing betting options, California residents should turn to online horse betting sites. At the bottom of this page, we go over the best online horse racing betting sites for California residents.

Where In California Can I Bet On Horse Racing?

In California, there are ten different racetracks scattered throughout the state for you to wager on horse races at. These locations will allow bettors to wager on live races on the day they head to the track. Below, we’ve listed all of the racetracks available to bettors in California.

  • Los Alamitos Race Course
  • Golden Gate Fields
  • Hollywood Park Race Track
  • Santa Anita Park
  • Cal-Expo Race Track
  • Wine Country Horse Racing
  • Stockton Horse Racing
  • Connie Hall Racing Stable
  • Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
  • Surfside Race Place at Del Mar

Unfortunately, California is one of the largest states in the US, so it’s very possible that you might have to travel for quite some time to reach a nearby racetrack. There are a few off-track betting locations within the state that might help alleviate the travel issue, but OTB locations and the host tracks listed above will both have another problem: the number of races they can offer betting odds on.

For a complete list of horse racing events in California, in addition to horse racing events held around the country, you’ll want to head over to an online horse racing betting site. These sites provide detailed lists of horse racing dates for events taking place across the country, in the UK, Australia, and several European countries. You won’t find a better variety of horse races to bet on.

Are There Any Off-Track Betting Locations In California?

OTB, or off-track betting, refers to locations that simulcast races for the purpose of betting. In California, there are only six approved OTB locations. These venues generally simulcast in-state races and the occasional event held at out-of-state thoroughbred horse racing tracks. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the six OTB locations in California.

  • Southern California Off-Track Wagering
  • Pleasant Off Track Betting
  • Hollywood Park Race Track
  • San Jose Fairdowns OTB
  • Cal-Expo Race Track
  • OC Tavern

While these off-track venues will have the occasional high-profile event, like the Kentucky Derby, they generally won’t carry a majority of the races held around the country, and definitely won’t have any of the international races. In order to have a limitless option when it comes to betting on the horses, the only surefire place you can go is an online horse racing betting site.

The Difference Of Gambling And Horse Betting

Residents may be surprised when they learn that horse betting isn’t technically considered gambling. Instead of people putting their money to the house guessing on fixed odds, the players are putting money into a pool and collecting off changing odds. This system creates a legal standpoint that ensures horse racing enthusiasts are technically gambling their money. Because the betting board is constantly changing and the money returned is from other bettors, pari-mutuel wagering is offset from sports betting and other kinds of gambling.

Other Sporting Events To Wager On In California

Legal California Triple Crown Betting

California Legal MLB Betting Sites

California Legal Masters Betting Sites

Legal California World Cup Betting Sites

Legal California Olympic Betting