HomeTexas Horse BettingOff-Track Betting in Texas

Off-track betting in Texas

In the following piece, you will learn everything you need to know about off-track betting in Texas, including the location of the off-track betting (OTB) facilities in the state, what off-track betting is and how it works, how to place an OTB wager, and much more.

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Much like all forms of Texas gambling, the history of off-track betting in Texas is a long and arduous one. With no full-scale casinos or sports betting in the state and a gray area poker scene, off-track betting in Texas does offer gamblers in the state a form of reprise as it is legal and widely available.

As of early 2024, there are dog/horse tracks spread throughout the state, and the off-track betting Texas landscape is still one that offers plenty of action for those looking to get involved. More importantly for today’s reading, there are three off-track betting locations in the state for fans of Texas horse race betting to get involved in the action.

Let’s take a closer look at the state of the OTB industry in Texas today. 

Off-track betting locations in Texas


Despite there being no independent off-track betting locations in Texas, you can still head to one of the state's racetracks to place your horse bets. Here are the six open to the public as of early 2024 and where to find them.

OTB

Address

Lone Star Park

1000 Lone Star Parkway, Grande Prairie TX 75050

Retema Park

1 Retema Parkway, Selma, TX 78154

Sam Houston Park

7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston, TX 77064

Valley Race Park

2601 South Ed Carey Drive, Harlinger, TX 78552

Gillespie County Fair

530 Fair Drive, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Gulf Coast Racing

5302 Leopard Street, Corpus Christi, TX 78408

What is off-track betting and how does it work?

More frequently referred to as an OTB, off-track betting is a location where you can go to bet on horse races that are happening throughout the country. Often located at horse or greyhound race tracks, as all the off-track betting Texas facilities are, they can also be at standalone entities such as bars and restaurants. 

Bettors who place bets there are taking part in what is known as pari-mutuel Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW), a fancy term for betting on horses from afar. Once you place your bet at the off-track betting facility, either via a self-serving machine or with a teller, you can then watch your race on a closed-circuit television directly at the OTB.

Off-track betting facilities, including those in Texas, make their money by taking a piece of every wager known as the ‘takeout.’ Simply put, this is their commission for operating the OTB location, paying their bills, and making a profit in the process.

How could I place a wager at OTB locations in Texas?

For Texas residents, and those visiting the state, visiting an OTB location in Texas at one of the racetracks might be an intimidating process. Today, we are going to walk you through how to place a wager at OTB locations in Texas in a few simple steps.

The below instructions are for placing a wager at the OTB location in Texas’ self-serving kiosks, an increasingly popular norm at all OTB facilities.

  1. Prep For Your Bet: Before you even walk up to the OTB machine, make sure you have the track name, race #, and horse # ready to go. You can get all of this information on the TV screens in the OTB, as well as by purchasing a tip book that every OTB has on the day’s races. These are put together by professional handicappers and are a great resource for information.
  2. Insert Funds: Using cash, put your money into the machine. Minimums typically start at $5 to get involved in the action.
  3. Place Your Bet: Once you’ve found the horse/race you want to bet on, choose the type of bet you want to make (win, place/show, or exotic). Follow the steps on the touchscreen, which are typically very intuitive.
  4. Collect Your Ticket: Once you follow steps 2 and 3 and select the amount you want to wager, the machine will print out a ticket with all of your wager’s information. Be sure to not lose your ticket, as if it's a winner, you’ll need it to collect your winnings. From here, all that’s left is to watch your race.
  5. Collect Your Winnings: If the wager you placed is a loser, you can discard your ticket. However, if it is a winner, return to the machine to insert your winning ticket. From here, you will receive a voucher which you can take to the OTB cashier to receive your winnings in cash. If you’re unsure whether its a winner or not, take it to the machine anyway, just in case.

Expert advice when off-track betting in Texas

For those considering heading to an off-track betting Texas location for the first time, there are some basic dos and don’ts that every bettor should consider. Based on nearly two decades of betting on horses, below is some expert advice when off-track betting in Texas.

  • Utilize the Tip Sheets: Nearly every off-track betting Texas location will have tip sheets for purchase near the cashier. These tip sheets can prove to be invaluable, as they’re put together by professional horse handicappers and include information such as horse record history, trainer history, jockey history, and more. In most cases, these tip sheets are usually no more than $10.
  • Lean Towards Favorites: Simply put, horses that are favorites are for a reason. Even though they have small payouts, they are almost always the most capable horses in the field. To take advantage, get creative with your bet type to include them in exotic wagers such as superfecta or trifecta wagers.
  • Research Trainers: For those who follow horse racing closely, there are some big names in the trainer industry known for how good they are. As you comb through the tip sheet, you’ll find that the same horse trainers seem to have success over and over. Be aware of which horses are trained by whom and take advantage.
  • Watch the Horse: If you have the time to hang out at an off-track betting Texas facility for a while, you’ll observe on the TVs how the horses are acting prior to the race. Look for the hoses that look comfortable, and stay away from those that look agitated.