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How Do I Bet On Horses In Illinois?

Betting on horses in Illinois is legal and has been since 1931. Horse racing is a popular form of entertainment and gambling in the state, with tracks located in both Chicago and downstate. This article will explain the basics of how to bet on horses in Illinois, including what types of bets are available, how to place a bet, and where to find the latest racing information.

What Types of Bets Are Available?

There are several types of bets available when it comes to betting on horses in Illinois. The most common type is the win bet, which requires you to pick the horse that will win the race. You can also bet on a horse to show, which means that the horse must finish in the top three. Other bets, such as exactas and trifectas, involve picking the top two or three finishers in order. Quinella and superfecta bets involve picking the top finishers in any order.

How to Place a Bet

Placing a bet on horses in Illinois is relatively easy. First, you need to find a track and visit the betting window. You will need to provide the teller with your name, address, and age. You must be at least 18 years old to place a bet. Then, you must select the type of bet you wish to place and the horses you are betting on. The teller will provide you with a ticket that shows the amount of your bet and the horses you selected.

How to Read a Racing Form

Understanding the racing form is essential for successful betting on horses in Illinois. The racing form is a printed document that contains information about the horses, jockeys, and trainers in the race. It also includes statistics on the horses’ recent performances and handicapping information. This information can help you make informed decisions when selecting which horses to bet on.

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Where to Find Racing Information

There are several sources of racing information available in Illinois. The most comprehensive source is the Illinois Racing Board’s website, which provides up-to-date information on races, horses, jockeys, and trainers. You can also find racing information in newspapers, as well as on television and radio broadcasts.

Types of Bonuses and Promotions

Many tracks and online betting sites offer bonuses and promotions for betting on horses in Illinois. These can include free bets, money back specials, and cash bonuses. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of the bonus or promotion before taking advantage of it.

Odds Explained

Odds are an important part of betting on horses in Illinois. Odds are used to determine the potential payout for each bet. The higher the odds, the higher the potential payout. There are two types of odds: American and European. American odds are expressed as positive and negative numbers, while European odds are expressed as fractions.

Taxes on Winnings

If you win money when betting on horses in Illinois, you are required to pay taxes on the winnings. The rate of tax depends on the amount of the winnings. You will need to provide the track or online betting site with your social security number in order to receive tax forms.

Safety and Security

Safety and security are important considerations when betting on horses in Illinois. Be sure to research the track or betting site before placing a bet. Look for information about security measures and customer service. Also, be aware of any scams or fraudulent activities.


Betting on horses in Illinois is a fun and exciting way to make money. It requires knowledge of the horses, jockeys, and trainers, as well as an understanding of the different types of bets and odds. With the right information and a bit of luck, you can be successful when betting on horses in Illinois.