HomeTexas Horse Betting

Texas online horse betting

Read on to find out more about online horse betting in Texas, including its legal status, different kinds of horse race bets, and a lot more.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry
| Last Updated:
Table of contents

Texas has a storied but complicated history with horse betting, the legal status being a point of contention for decades. While pari-mutuel and racetrack betting are legal, off-track and online horse betting are still prohibited. In this piece, we’ll take a look at the role horse racing has played in Texas’ betting landscape and what is coming in the days ahead for the industry.

Horse betting is legal in Texas to a degree: pari-mutuel wagering is allowed, as is betting while at the track, but online horse betting is still against the law.

Texas approved pari-mutuel wagering following a referendum in 1987, but it was outlawed for 50 years before that. Additionally, a follow-up referendum in 1991 allowed for simulcast betting, but in-person wagering is still the requirement.

Following the 1987 referendum, several racetracks opened in Texas. They serve the metropolitan areas around Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, making horse betting more widely available. In the years after they opened, the Texas racetracks enjoyed a surge in popularity. However, in recent years that progress has stalled.

Manor Downs racetrack is permanently closed, while the courses at Laredo Downs and Valle de los Toseros looked promising but never opened for business.

Attendances have stabilized at a level somewhat short of their 1990s peaks, and there is little sign of any new race facilities opening in the near future.

Perhaps this stagnation will encourage lawmakers to review whether allowing online sports betting in Texas might provide a stimulus for the racing industry across the state.

Best online horse race betting sites that might come to Texas

Most top betting sites offer online wagers on horse races. That’s great news for bettors who wish to integrate their Texas sportsbook, racebook, and casino play across one operator.

If and when Texas legalizes online sports betting and expands to offer online horse racing, we could look forward to some of these big names going live in the state.

PointsBet Texas Logo

PointsBet Texas

PointsBet launched its U.S. horse betting operations in 2021. However, after Fanatics bought PointsBet’s U.S. operations, the platform may be looking at a rebranding. It’s unclear when this changeover will take place.

DraftKings Texas

DraftKings Texas

DraftKings’ daily fantasy sports (DFS) competitions are already permitted in Texas. The DFS contests will allow DraftKings to grow brand recognition around the state and when sports betting (and online horse betting) are legalized, the Texas sportsbook will become one of the top options in the market. DK Horse launched just ahead of the 2023 Kentucky Derby, so it’s still in relative infancy among horse markets.

BetMGM Texas

BetMGM Texas

BetMGM’s horse racing app is available in Ohio, Florida, and Louisiana, and with its excellent presence throughout the sports betting world, the operator would be a natural fit in Texas’ space.

Caesars Racebook Texas Logo

Caesars Texas

Caesars’ racebook app is available in 16 states, making it one of the most publicly available options so far.

What is “pari-mutuel betting” in horse betting in TX?

Pari-mutuel betting takes its name from the French term for 'mutual bets'. It is a system of pool wagering developed in Paris by Joseph Oller in the early 20th century. With pari-mutuel betting, winning payments are drawn from a pool of all the monies wagered on a race, minus a commission for the bookmaker.

In practice, there is little difference between pari-mutuel betting and fixed-odds wagering. The key difference is that when you place a pari-mutuel bet, you cannot know exactly what you will win, whereas a fixed-odds wager will pay a specific return without taking into account any subsequent bets on the same event.

Different kinds of horse race bets in TX

At first sight, horse betting can seem bewildering. The different types of wagers have their own language, and it can be a challenge at times for beginners to learn the lingo. However, if you check out our glossary of different bets, you'll be up to speed in no time.

Straight wagers

  • Win bet: A win bet is the easiest bet to understand. Pick the horse you think will win the race. If it passes the finish line first, you win your bet.
  • Place bet: With a place bet, bettors are choosing a horse that will finish in the top two of the race, regardless of the finishing order.
  • Show bet: Similar to a place bet, a show bet pays out if your horse finishes in the top three regardless of its precise placing. Not surprisingly, with a greater likelihood of winning, a show bet pays out less than a place bet or a win bet.

Exotic wagers

  • Exacta: To win an exacta, bettors need to pick the top two horses in the correct order. If you correctly select the winner and runner-up, you will earn a much larger payout than if you select the winner alone.
  • Quinella: A quinella is, in effect, two exactas. Bettors choose their top two horses regardless of the finishing order. This is a rarer bet type and isn’t offered at most tracks.
  • Trifecta: A trifecta is similar to an exacta. However, with this type, you are betting on the top three horses in their finishing order. To boost your chances of winning, you can “box” a trifecta, splitting your stake among the six possible finishing positions of your chosen three horses. Alternatively, you can nominate a “key” horse as your race winner, then split your stake to cover the possible permutations for the minor places.
  • Superfecta: Completing the set, a superfecta predicts the finishing order of the top four horses in the race. Not surprisingly, this is the hardest bet to land but it also results in the highest payouts. Like a trifecta, superfectas can be boxed or keyed.

Keep in mind that this will push up your total stake since a superfecta box has many potential perms to cover. However, to keep costs down, many books offer a minimum bet amount of $0.10 for a superfecta, with a substantial payout still possible despite the relatively low upfront cost.

In-person race tracks for horse betting in Texas

Despite its size, Texas is home to only a small handful of racetracks. There are a few which hold licenses but aren’t currently in operation, further complicating matters. Here, we’ll take a look at the top options among those in operation, listed alphabetically.

  • Gillespie County Fairgrounds: Located roughly an hour north of San Antonio, the Gillespie County Fairgrounds features mostly quarter-horse racing but there are a few thoroughbred races on the calendar from time to time as well.
  • Lone Star Park: Nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth, Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie is the newest track in the state. Opened in 1997, Lone Star features thoroughbred racing on both a one-mile dirt track and a seven-furlong turf course. This track was the host of the 2004 Breeders’ Cup.
  • Retama Park: Running thoroughbred races in the fall, quarter-horse races in the summer, and simulcast racing year-round, Retama Park opened in Selma (just outside San Antonio) in 1995. Like Lone Star, Retama Park has both a one-mile dirt track and a seven-furlong turf course.
  • Sam Houston Race Park: Sam Houston Race Park’s 955-foot distance from the final turn to the finish line regularly leads to some of the most exciting home stretches you’ll find anywhere. The track regularly takes in more than $2 million in handle on live race days.


How long has horse betting been legal in Texas?

Pari-mutuel horse betting was legalized in Texas in 1987 after a 50-year prohibition. The state expanded its laws to include simulcast betting in 1991, but off-track and online betting remain illegal.

When will online horse betting be legal in Texas?

Online horse betting in Texas could be legal as early as 2025. However, after the state house and legislature failed to get an online sports betting bill on the ballot during the 2023 session, it’s difficult to say for certain if the House and Senate could agree to terms in the next session that would allow online horse betting as part of the ballot measure.

Where can I find the latest Texas horse betting promos?

When online horse betting comes to Texas, you’ll be able to find the latest Texas horse race betting promos at BettingTX.com. We’ll continue to update this site with the latest offers across racebooks, sportsbooks, and online casino promotions once each form of gambling becomes available.

Fact checked by: Gary Garry