Horse Racing in Illinois

Illinois horse racing is steeped in history and has offered racing fans around the United States exciting events for a number of years.

The most-populous Midwestern state has been home to some of the best races since the 1880s. The US is a horse racing nation as people up and down the country enjoy spending time watching and betting on domestic and international races.

The Prairie State has a long history of legal gambling, and thanks to recent events, residents have more access to gambling platforms than ever. With the introduction of the 2019 Illinois Gambling Act, IL sports betting apps are now legal.

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Additionally, retail sportsbooks are available in Illinois casinos, racetracks, and within close proximity to sports venues. Regarding horse betting, bettors can wager on horse racing in Illinois online, either at several off-track betting locations or at the state’s three racetracks. Furthermore, TVG, one of the biggest online horse racing sites in the country, is available to Illinois residents. There are also horse racing partnerships in Illinois available through IL racing websites.

Horse Racing Illinois

Illinois Horse Betting

For those asking, ‘where is there horse racing in Illinois’? Well, there are three thoroughbred and harness racetrack venues offering live racing in Illinois, which are:

One of the most famous races of the season is the Arlington Million, which is a Grade 1 flat horse race for thoroughbred horses.

Fairmount Park Racetrack

As well as the above horse racing tracks in Illinois, there are 24 off-track betting (OTB) locations in the state. All of these locations operate under the guise of one of the three in-state tracks. Two of the OTB facilities are located in Chicago.

Illinois Horse Betting Legal Requirements

The minimum age to bet on horse racing in the Prairie State is 18. The minimum bet is $2; however, there are some exotic wagers where the minimum is $1. The Hawthorne Race Course and Fairmount Park Racetrack are pressing ahead with plans to expand their offerings. Both venues may become ‘racinos,’ which means they will offer slots and table games for visitors.

However, these plans may be delayed as Arlington Park owners, Churchill Downs, revealed they would not be applying for a casino license because it believes the state’s tax requirement on revenue generated from casino games is too high. Following this news, doubts have arisen regarding the race track’s future, and some groups have expressed an interest in buying the property from Churchill Downs.

Horse Betting Sites in Illinois

The Equibase website is typically the one-stop-shop for bettors in the US to check horse racing results and the latest statistics and news on thoroughbred racing. There are other legal betting platforms available for IL bettors, including:

  • BetAmerica
  • DRFBets
  • NYRABets
  • TwinSpires
  • Xpressbet

Advance-deposit betting is legal in Illinois and is available from the above online betting sites.


How old do u have to be to bet in horse racing in Illinois?

You must be at least 18 years old to wager on horse races in Illinois legally. This applies whether you visit a track for a meet or play online from your home in Chicago.

Is horse racing betting legal in Illinois?

Yes, as long as you are over 18, you can legally bet on horses in IL. The state has three race tracks where you can bet, or alternatively, there are 24 off-track betting venues available. Last year, Illinois introduced the Gambling Act, which means residents and visitors have more sports betting options, which includes horse racing. Online sports betting apps and retail sportsbooks are live and available in Illinois.

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