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California horse betting

Today at CABeting.com, we will teach you everything you need to know about California horse betting, including the leading horse betting sites in California, horse betting’s legal status in CA, and much more.

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California might not be the first state you think of when it comes to horse racing, but the Golden State has a rich history when it comes to betting on the ponies. With tracks in the state popping up in the mid-1850s, there are still four horse race tracks that operate today, all of which include California horse betting opportunities.

California’s nearly 40 million residents can also bet on horses at one of the state’s more than 80 off-track betting sites in the state. Additionally, while California lawmakers have up to this point taken a rather conservative approach to all things online gambling, they did make online California horse betting (known as Advance Deposit Wagering) legal in 2002.

With an established appetite for the industry, let’s take a deeper look at everything you need to know when it comes to California horse betting. 

Leading horse betting sites in California

There are seven online horse betting sites in California, a list that has grown since California legislators passed a bill in 2022 to legalize the industry. Below, we detail the leading horse betting sites in California.

Yes, betting on horses in California is legal, as residents (and visitors) who are 18 years of age or older can participate today. Known as pari-mutuel wagering, betting on horses in California can be done in a variety of ways.

Most commonly, you can bet on horses in California at one of the four operating horse race tracks which include the Golden Gate Fields, Santa Anita Park, Del Mar Fairgrounds, and Los Alamitos Race Course.

Additionally, there are more than 80 off-track betting locations in California that offer bettors to wager on horses up and down the California coast. With off-track betting, you can bet on horse races across the country, while viewing the results on closed-circuit televisions in the facility.

Lastly, seven advance deposit wagering websites permit Californians to bet on horses, which include NYRA Bets, Xpressbet, Twinspires, FanDuel Racing California, WatchandWager, and more.

All California horse betting, and the California horse race tracks, are overseen and regulated by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB).

How could you place a wager at a California race track?

If you are new to California horse betting and have never placed a wager on horses before, it might seem intimidating the first time. Fear not, as we here at CABetting.com have you covered on how you can place a wager at California race track today. Let’s take a look at how you can use one of the self-serving kiosks at San Anita Park to place a horse racing bet today.

  1. Find the Betting Kiosks: When you get to San Anita Park or any of the other horse race tracks in California, find the betting area near the track. There will likely be some tellers taking bets, but head to the self-serving kiosks to begin the betting process.
  2. Do Your Research: There are a few different ways you can do research for placing a wager at a California race track. For starters, San Anita Park’s website (SanAnita.com) has a wealth of information including expert picks and analysis from their team of professional handicappers. There are also plenty of resources online to study.
  3. Cash Only: Whether you are betting at the window or using a self-serving kiosk, it’s important to note that you can only place wagers at California race tracks in cash.
  4. Make Your Bet: Before approaching the kiosk to make your bet, make sure you have noted down the race #, posting # (the horse), the type of bet you want to place (more on that below), and the amount you want to risk. Once at the machine, insert your cash and follow the intuitive instructions on the touchscreen. Once confirmed, the machine will print out a ticket with all of your betting information on it.
  5. Collect Your Winnings: Assuming your bet is a winner, return to the machine and insert the ticket in the appropriate slot. In return, the machine will print out a voucher, which you can then take to the cashier to redeem for cash.

Key things to know before betting on horses online in California

If you are new to the California horse betting scene, there are some important things to know before getting involved, especially when doing it online. Let’s take a look at a few key things to know before betting on horses online in California.

  • Betting Apps: Most of the top California horse betting websites also have mobile apps for their customers, including TwinSpires, Caesars Racebook, and FanDuel Racing. Download the apps for the ability to bet on horses online in California from all over the state, on the go.
  • Bonuses: Much like online sportsbooks, which are not yet legal in the state, California horse betting sites offer welcome bonuses to new customers. Make sure to take advantage of them when signing up for a new account, as they can offer as much as $200 in bonus bets simply for signing up and making an initial deposit.
  • Shop Around: Also much like sports betting, the different California horse betting sites may feature slightly different odds depending on their liability and own handicapping. Make sure to shop around the different websites to make sure you get the best number possible for your bet.
  • Must Be in California: If you are using one of the legal California horse betting sites, it’s important to remember you must be within the state’s borders to use your account. Both the websites and mobile apps will use geo-location software to confirm you are in California before making your wager.

Different types of bets you could place on horses in CA

With pari-mutuel wagering, there is no shortage of ways to get involved in California horse betting. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the different types of bets you could place on horses in CA.

Straight Bets

  • Win: Just as it sounds, you are simply betting on which horse will win the horse outright.
  • Place: A place bet means you are betting on a horse to finish in either first or second place, with any other finishing position being a loser.
  • Show: A show bet means you are making a bet on a horse to finish in first, second, or third place, with any other finishing position a losing bet.

Exotic Bets

  • Exacta: An exacta bet requires you to pick the first and second-place horses, in exact order.
  • Quinella: A quinella bet requires you to pick the first and second-place horses as well, except it doesn't matter which order they finish in.
  • Trifecta: A trifecta bet requires you to pick the horses that will finish in first, second, and third place, in exact order.
  • Superfecta: A superfecta bet, amongst the most difficult in all horse race betting, requires you to pick the first through fourth place finishers, in the exact order they finish.
  • Daily Double: A daily double bet requires you to pick the winner in two, back-to-back races.
  • Pick 3: A Pick 3 bet is similar to the daily double, except you need to pick the winner of three consecutive races.

FAQ

Can you bet on horses on online sportsbooks in California?

No, you can not bet on horses on online sportsbooks in California, as legislation has not yet been passed to legalize online sportsbooks in the state.

When will betting on horses online in California be legalized?

You are currently able to bet on horses online in California via one of seven advance deposit wagering websites operating in the state. Full-scale California sports betting, however, is not yet legal in the state, with 2024 the soonest possible we could see successful legislation pass in the Golden State.

How do I read and understand the odds for horse betting in California?

You can read and understand the odds for horse betting in California by doing your research and making sure you are informed. As a quick example, if a horse is 2/1 to win a race, it means if you bet $10, you will receive a total of $20 if it is a winner.

Are there any major horse racing events in California that I can bet on?

Yes, there are a handful of major horse racing events in California that you can bet on which include but are not limited to the Santa Anita Handicap, TVG Pacific Classic, Champion of Champions, Los Alamitos Derby, and the Santa Anita Derby.

Can I place horse bets online or through mobile apps in California?

Yes, you can place horse bets online or through mobile apps in California via one of the seven advance deposit wagering sites currently operating in the state.

What is the minimum age to participate in horse betting in California?

The minimum age to participate in horse betting in California is 18 years of age.