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Maryland Horse-Race betting

Maryland loves horse racing, and they’re bound to love the many horse-race betting options now available legally in their state. All major sportsbooks include a wide array of betting to make horse-racing betting as exciting as the sport itself. So pour yourself a black-eyed Susan and start your bets!

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Guide to off-track betting in MD

With its storied history in the sport, Maryland is a prime horse-racing country. Now, it’s the perfect venue for legalized off-track betting. But with so many options available in the Old Line State right now, it may be tough for even the experience horse-racing fan to sort it all.

Let’s take a closer look at how legalized horse racing is handled in the state, some of the betting options, and some strategies for fans to make the most out of horse-race betting in Maryland.

How to get started betting on horses in Maryland


When sports betting in Maryland was approved by voters in November 2020 and signed into law by the governor in May 2021, horse-race betting became legal in a state where horse racing is a long-held tradition.

The Preakness Stakes has been run at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course in 1873), two years before the first Derby was held  The law opens up more avenues for sports betting, including up to 60 licenses for Maryland online sportsbooks to operate — which is where you should start. Learn how to bet on the Kentucky Derby in Maryland here.

Study the off-track betting books in MD

No two sportsbooks are alike, especially when it comes to horse race betting. Take some time to review a sportsbook’s unique offerings, including its depth of sports markets and whether its web interface is easy to navigate.

Other things to look out for:

  • If a sportsbook offers live betting, allowing you to make wagers as a race is taking place.
  • There are a large number of bonuses, including sign-up bonuses for new users, deposit bonuses, referral bonuses, and risk-free bonuses for first deposits.
  • If it offers a wide depth of sports to bet on, including big professional leagues and collegiate sports, as well as the offerings within a certain sport. For example, does it offer betting on multiple horse racing events, not just the ones that make up the Triple Crown?
  • If it has a wide range of types of bets for users to consider.
  • Is the online sportsbook well-organized, including a clear betting slip on the front page, a section for a calendar of upcoming events, and in-depth horse-race betting odds listings.

Check on security

You’re betting with real money on online sports betting sites in Maryland, so be sure to take a close look at the safety measures it has in place for your account.

Be sure to note whether the websites and their mobile apps have a secure payment system in place, including a digital encryption certification and SSL and TSL protocols.

In Maryland, sports betting is regulated by the state, which issues licenses. Check if a sportsbook’s operator’s license is visible in full and posted prominently on its main page.

Make sure there’s stellar customer service

Physical and online sportsbooks are typically tied to a larger, long-running company, and the best ones have a reputation for great customer service. Check with a sportsbook to make sure its contact information is provided, including email and phone numbers.

Online, there should be a robust customer service or “help” page that may also offer live chatting with customer care representatives. Under their help sections, the best sites may also include long lists of how-to guides.

These cover not just how to use their sportsbook but anything and everything you need to know about betting, including how odds work and definitions of common betting terms.

The horse race betting sites available in MD


Twinspires Horse racing odds

Twinspires has a great web presence, including an engaging interface, odds clearly outlined, and a bevy of deposit and withdrawal methods. It also includes a perpetually helpful sports betting tips page.

Best bonus: Up to $1,000 in Risk-Free Bets

TVG. Horse race betting lines

TVG earns high marks for the value of its dynamic odds, quick payouts, user-friendly app, and unique wagering types exclusive to the site.

Best bonus: $300 Risk-Free First Bet.

Signing up for an off-track racebook in Maryland


Once you’ve pinpointed one or more sportsbooks to use, you’ll need to enter a bit of personal information to register.

In Maryland, you must be 18 or older to bet on horse racing online and be a resident of the state. Sportsbooks will verify your identity with various means, including photo identification and a utility bill or other forms that show your address. Once you’re signed up and confirmed, you may start betting right away!

Understanding Horse Race betting odds

In order to bet effectively on horse racing, you need to master how the odds work. Odds come into play with all sports betting. Horse racing odds are typically written as fractions (for example, when a horse has 20-1 odds, it’s written at 10/1.

The numbers in the odds indicate how much you may win related to your bet. The first number shows how many units you could win, while the lower number, the denominator, shows what you need to risk to win the top number.

For example, with 10/1 odds, you’d win 10 units for every 1 unit you bet. The odds also indicate a favorite or an underdog in a race.

If the denominator is the larger number, you’re betting on a favorite, and you could get a smaller win. On the other hand, if the first number is larger, you could stand to make more profit on your wager.

Odds also work in conjunction with average payouts that horse racing tracks and sportsbooks offer. There may be a minimum of $1 or $2 bets. For example, 1/9 odds on a $1 bet will yield you $1.10, 1-1 bets on a $1 bet could get you $2 if you win.

Types of bets to place on horse races in Maryland

Straight bets

Simple and straightforward, there are three different straight bet types in horse racing. A bet on a horse to take 1st place is a Win bet. A Place bet means you’re betting on a horse to take either 1st or 2nd. A Show bet is betting on a single horse to take 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a race.

Across the board bets

Across the board, bets combine the three straight bet options. If a horse wins a race, your Win, Place, and Show Bet all payout.

If the horse ends up in second place, the place and show bets pay, and if it ends up in third, just the show bet pays. So it’s a good way to spread your luck with one horse.

Exotic bets

Exotic bets let you wager on multiple picks, more than one horse, and sometimes more than one race. Some options include:

  • Exacta: You’re betting on two horses to place in 1st and 2nd, and your horses must finish that way in order to win.
  • Trifecta: A bet on three horses to place 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in that order.
  • Superfecta: You pick the exact order of horses to place 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

FAQ’s About Horse-Race betting in Maryland

Which horse-Race betting in Maryland can I place wagers on?

Sportsbooks offer many betting options — and often lucrative bonuses — tied to the major races that make up the Triple Crown: The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. Other popular races to bet on include the Santa Anita Handicap, the Pegasus World Cup, the Breeders Cup, and Kentucky Oaks.

Can I bet on sports in other states?

To use a sportsbook legally, you must bet within the state you reside. Online sportsbooks implement location software so only valid residents of a state can bet on a sportsbook that’s approved to operate in that state.

What are my withdrawal and deposit options?

They vary by the sportsbook, but most often a generous number of methods for you to choose. Common deposit and withdrawal options include Paypal, ACH/e-check, bank transfer, cryptocurrency, Skrill, Neteller, and credit and debit cards.

How do I claim sign-up bonuses?

Sign-up bonuses are sent via promo codes. You must use your code to claim the bonus, and you often have to use it within a set amount of time, often within two weeks or sometimes a month.

Do I need to be an expert in horse racing to win big?

Not at all. Online sportsbooks offer a range of betting options that appeal to amateurs and more experienced bettors alike.