How Do I Bet On The Kentucky Derby?

The legalization of sports betting continues to gain momentum, but you are still only able to wager legally in a few states. Fortunately for those looking to place a wager on the 2021 Kentucky Derby, betting on horse racing has already been legalized in more states than traditional sports betting, and there are both online and in-person options where you can place your Kentucky Derby bets. There are 33 states where horse betting has been legalized and you are able to place a bet online.

The 23 states where betting on the Kentucky Derby is legal and can be found on any online site are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. If you skim this list and see your state, then you are in luck and can get ready for some Kentucky Derby action.

These are the states where only betting will be legal on the major books. There are other states where horse betting is legal, but laws vary by state. For example, some states may only allow betting on races taking place in their state or must be placed at a physical racetrack. For a full list, you can check here.

The reason for this gap in legalization between betting on sports and betting on horse racing is horse betting is what is known as parimutuel betting. Parimutuel betting is when you are betting against other people rather than the house. Instead of betting directly against the house, the house makes money by taking a commission of the total amount wagered. The odds and payout are constantly changing depending on how much other people are betting on each horse. As for where to place your bet, there are numerous online sites where you can legally do this. The official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby is TwinSpires. TwinSpires is named after the iconic spires at the grandstand of Churchill Downs. Additionally, TwinSpires is owned by Churchill Downs, which is the group that owns the property that hosts the Kentucky Derby.

Another site where you can place your bet is TVG. TVG is the horse racing branch of FanDuel, so for those who already have established an account with FanDuel, then TVG could be a more convenient option for you. Other options include BetAmerica, MyBookie, and BetUS.

For those looking to place a bet in person, make sure that you are prepared with your bet and know what to say when you get to the betting window. For help, the Kentucky Derby official website offers a step-by-step guide on how to place a bet at a betting window. You should know the name of the track, which for the Kentucky Derby is always Churchill Downs, the race number, how much money you are wagering, and the horse’s number. It is important to note that you do not actually have to be at the Kentucky Derby to place an in-person bet on the Kentucky Derby — you could be at a teller at the Belmont track in New York and still place a bet on the Kentucky Derby. And remember, keep your ticket in a safe place!

For those who are new to sports betting and are setting up an account for the first time with a site, you will likely see a plethora of offers and guarantees designed to hook you in. For example, a site may offer you a “free” first bet up to a certain amount such as $100, and if you lose, you get your money back. With these offers, it is incredibly important to read the fine print, and that can often be a little overwhelming. But the major point to look for is if you are receiving the money you lose back in cash or with credit on the site.

Many times, you don’t “lose” your initial bet of $100 from our example; it would become $100 that rolls over and you would have in your account to spend, but it may not be refunded back into your actual bank account. So before you go making any bets that you normally wouldn’t because it is “free” — double check the fine print.

The Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest days of betting for first-timers and casual bettors. Knowing how to place a bet is only half the battle — placing the right bets is the other half, but at least now you are able to save the hassle of finding where to pick and can instead use that energy on making smart picks.

Photo Credit: Google Creative Common Licenses, Amanda Cook Twitter

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