HomeVirginia Online Horse Betting

Virginia online horse betting

Dive into the realm of Virginia online horse betting with our guide. Uncover the top sites for horse race betting, legality in Virginia, various bet types, the history of horse betting in the state, details about Colonial Downs, and answers to frequently asked questions.

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While the Commonwealth of Virginia isn’t the first state in the Union you think of when it comes to horse racing, the addition of online horse betting in Virginia has become a favorite of bettors all over the state. With thoroughbred and harness racing courses in the state, Virginians continue to embrace horse betting as we take a look at all that is involved.

Best Virginia horse race betting sites

With the 2020 legalization of online horse betting in Virginia, the road was paved for horse race betting sites to make entry into the Commonwealth.

For those looking to get involved in online horse race betting, let’s take a look at the best Virginia horse race betting sites on the web today.

TwinSpires Virginia Logo


Launching in 2007, TwinSpires Racebook is run by Churchill Downs Inc., one of the biggest horse track owners in the country. Operating as a dedicated horse race betting website, TwinSpires operated a sports betting arm as well up until recently. Now live in more than 35 states, including Virginia, TwinSpires offers a mobile betting platform for horse racing bettors to enjoy as well. With one of the best welcome bonuses in the industry, TwinSpires Virginia is our choice for the top online horse betting site in Virginia.

TVG Virginia Logo


Offering online horse race betting and live streaming of races in 30+ states, including Virginia, TVG is one of the best ADWs in the business. Launched officially in 1993, the TVG website and mobile app allow for betting at more than 500 race tracks across the U.S. and the globe. TVG also offers its customers tools to help pick races, such as handicapping services, news, and select pics from betting pros. Purchased by the FanDuel Group in 2018, TVG continues to expand its services and include some of the best odds in the industry. For those looking to get involved, TVG also offers new customers a lucrative welcome offer of a $200 First Bet Refund.

DRF Bets Virginia Logo

DRF Bets

Operating as a subsidiary of DRF.com, the Daily Racing Forum was founded in 1984, launching what is known as DRF Bets today in 2011. Now legal in 38 states, including Virginia, DRF Bets is one of the best ADW operators in business today. The Daily Racing forum also offers sports betting services at DRF Sportsbook, with the integration between the two seamless. Keeping up with their competition, DRF Bets offers new customers a $200 match deposit bonus.

Yes, you can legally bet horses online in Virginia, with Governor Ralph Northam signing SB 384 and HB 896 in January 2020 to legalize online sports betting in the state, which included horse racing. Gambling has long been a part of Virginia’s history, with the first gambling-related bills passing in 1973 via the Charitable Gaming Act.

In 1987, the Virginia Lottery was created, and two years later, horse racing was also legalized. By 2018, the Virginia Lottery had brought its services online, which paved the way for Virginia online sportsbooks and horse betting sites just a couple of years later.

Different types of horse race bets

For those new to online horse betting in Virginia, there are a handful of key terms and wager types that every bettor should be aware of. Let’s take a quick look at the primary different types of horse race bets you should be aware of when getting started.

  • Win: This is the most straightforward type of horse race bet, as you simply are picking which horse will win the bet. The numbers next to each horse indicate the odds, with 9 being a 9/1 winner of that horse to win.
  • Place: A place bet is a wager on the horse finishing in first or second place in the race.
  • Show: A show bet is a wager on the horse finishing in first, second, or third place in the race.
  • Exacta: A type of exotic wager, an exacta wager requires that you pick the horses that will finish in first and second place, in that exact order.
  • Quinella: A quinella wager is another type of exotic wager, similar to the exacta, except it doesn’t matter which order the two horses finish in.
  • Trifecta: To win a trifecta wager, you have to successfully predict the first, second, and third place horse, in that exact order.
  • Superfecta: Similar to an exacta and trifecta bet, the only difference is that you have to predict the first, second, third, and fourth horses, all in the exact order they finish. As you can imagine, this is amongst the highest payouts in horse racing given the degree of difficulty to predict.
  • Box: You can box an exacta, trifecta, and superfecta, which just means that in all of those exotic wagers, it doesn’t matter which order the horses come in.

History of horse betting in VA

The history of horse betting in VA is a long and storied one, as horses and gambling both have a long history in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Despite online horse betting in Virginia going live in recent years, the history of getting there was a long one as we take a look at how we got here, step by step.

  • 1609: Colonists brought the first horses to Virginia and with them their English gambling traditions that included betting on horses.
  • 1739: The first racetrack in the colonies was opened in Hempstead Plain in Long Island, NY, with the first coming to Virginia later that year in Williamsburg, VA.
  • 1760-1810: A racetrack operated in Alexandria County, which at the time was part of the District of Columbia
  • 1841: The Mount Vernon track opened and continued operations until 1845, at which time it shut down due to poor management
  • 1851: The General Court of Virginia made horseracing a state law, with a maximum bet of $20 permitted by the state.
  • 1894: Sentiment towards horse race gambling started to turn in the late 19th century, as Victorian standards mixed with corruption changed the public's opinion on the subject. The General Assembly officially banned gambling at horse racetracks by 1984.
  • 1987: The Virginia Lottery was approved by vote, paving the way for a 1988 referendum to legalize a horse track with pari-mutuel gambling which was approved
  • 1997: The Colonial Downs, Virginia’s first modern horse racing track, was opened in New Kent County, VA.
  • 2020: Included in the House and Senate Bills which were designed for online sports betting, online horse betting in Virginia was approved.

About Colonial Downs

Located in New Kent, Virginia, Colonial Downs Race Tracks runs thoroughbred horse races all summer long from July until September. Opened on September 1, 1997, Colonial Downs in Virginia shut down thoroughbred operations in 2013 due to a dispute between management and the horse owner groups, closing down harness racing the next year and all together in 2015.

Then, in 2018, Revolutionary Racing bought the racetrack for a reported $20 million price tag, bringing in other owner groups to fully purchase Colonial Downs. Less than a year later, in August 2019, Colonial Downs in Virginia as we know it today re-opened for business. In 2022, that ownership group sold to racetrack owner group Churchill Downs, Inc. which owns and operates it today.

As for the track itself, it features a 1 ¼ mile dirt oval track, with a 7 ½ furling inner oval which is turf, and a 1 ⅛ mile outer turf oval. Throughout the year, it’s home to four graded events including the Arlington Million, Beverly D. Stakes, Secretariat Stakes, and Virginia Derby.


What age do I have to be to bet on horses in Virginia?

Unlike other forms of gambling in the Commonwealth of Virginia that require you to be 21 years or older, you only must be 18 or older to bet on horses in Virginia.

When did horse betting become legal in Virginia?

Horse racing became legal in 1988 when voters in the Commonwealth approved pari-mutuel wagering.

How many horse race tracks are there in Virginia?

There are currently three horse race tracks in Virginia, the Shenandoah Downs, the Great Meadow Steeplechase Course, and the Colonial Downs Racetrack.

How popular is horse betting in Virginia?

With three live horse racing tracks and three online horse racing websites, horse betting is popular in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Where can I find the latest Virginia horse racing bonuses?

You can find the latest Virginia horse racing bonuses right here on VA Betting, which covers all the latest and greatest bonus information on online horse betting in Virginia.