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How to Bet on Horses in Illinois

Illinois has been a leader in horse racing for decades, with famous tracks like Arlington Park and Hawthorne Race Course. Horse racing is a popular pastime for many in the state, and it offers plenty of exciting betting opportunities. Here is an overview of how to bet on horses in Illinois.

Choosing a Track

The first step in betting on horses in Illinois is to decide on a track. The state has several high-profile tracks, including Arlington Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Balmoral Park, and Fairmount Park. Each track offers different levels of racing and betting opportunities. Arlington Park, for example, is a major thoroughbred track that hosts the Arlington Million and other major events. Hawthorne Race Course is a harness track that hosts the Illinois Derby. When choosing a track, consider the type of racing, the level of competition, and the amenities available.

Creating an Account

Once you’ve chosen a track, the next step is to create an account. Most tracks in Illinois offer online betting, and you’ll need to create an account in order to access the betting platform. This involves providing some basic information, such as your name and address. You’ll also need to provide a valid payment method. Once your account is created, you’ll be able to access the betting platform and place bets on races.

Learning the Basics

Before you start betting, it’s important to understand the basics of horse racing. Betting on horses involves predicting which horse will win the race. There are a variety of bet types, such as win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta. Each bet type has different odds and returns. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the different bet types before placing a bet.

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Choosing a Horse

Once you understand the basics of betting on horses, you’ll need to choose a horse to bet on. There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a horse, such as the horse’s performance in recent races, the track conditions, and the jockey’s experience. You can also use handicapping tools to help you make an informed decision.

Placing Bets

Once you’ve chosen a horse, it’s time to place a bet. You can place bets online or at the track. Online betting is convenient and allows you to bet from anywhere. If you’re at the track, you can place bets at the teller or betting window. You’ll need to provide the name of the horse, the amount of the bet, and the type of bet. Once the bet is placed, you can watch the race to see if your horse wins.

Collecting Winnings

If your horse wins, you’ll need to collect your winnings. If you’ve placed an online bet, your winnings will be credited to your account. If you’ve placed a bet at the track, you’ll need to go to the teller or betting window to collect your winnings. Be sure to keep your betting ticket as proof of your bet.


Betting on horses in Illinois can be an exciting and rewarding experience. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can make informed bets and potentially collect some winnings. Be sure to choose a track, create an account, learn the basics, choose a horse, place a bet, and collect your winnings. Good luck!