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Off-track betting in Virginia

This page contains details on off-track betting (OTB) in Virginia, including what locations are still operating, how to place a bet, and general advice when wagering.

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Off-track betting (OTB) facilities are starting to dwindle around the country as online racebooks and betting apps are becoming increasingly prevalent and popular. However, there are still a few venues in operation across Virginia that still provide a first-rate experience to their patrons.

Here, we’ve highlighted the off-track betting locations in Virginia, as well as explained how OTB works. We’ve also provided some expert advice when off-track betting and detailed the wagering process.

Off-track betting locations in Virginia


As of March 2024, there are just three off-track betting locations in Virginia.

OTB

Address

Breakers Sports Grille

TJ Maxx Shopping Center 9127 W. Broad St. Henrico, VA 23294

Buckets Bar & Grill

228 North Battlefield Blvd Chesapeake, VA 23220

The Windmill OTB Sports Grill

2360 Virginia Avenue Collinsville, VA 24078

Off-track betting and how it works

Off-track betting is the betting activity that occurs around horse and greyhound racing that is conducted away from the racecourse. A percentage of the revenue from wagers made at OTB facilities is disbursed in the purses for the winning racers, which for a long time made horse race betting more accessible; under federal law, off-track betting facilities could not operate within 60 miles of a racetrack.

Bettors can participate in OTB wagering by making either a fixed odds or pari-mutuel bet (or series of bets). Wagers will close at post time, and the races are often simulcast, allowing bettors to wager on international and domestic races alike with ease.

As a means of increasing revenue to prop up diminishing track attendance, off-track betting facilities invented several “exotic” wager types, including the exacta and trifecta. These wagers are now some of the most popular ways to bet on races.

How do I place a bet at OTB locations in Virginia?

Placing a bet at OTB locations in Virginia is a rather straightforward process, and you’ll find it quite similar to betting at the track. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow.

  1. Decide where to wager: There are three off-track betting locations in Virginia, so the list of available options is pretty small. Make a day out of it, but don’t spend too much time or money that is beyond what you can afford to lose!
  2. Research the races: Knowledge is power when making your wagers, and the more information you can gather ahead of time, the better a position you’ll be in when it’s time to lock in your bets. At a minimum, understanding the recent performances of the racers, the jockeys, trainers, and track conditions are all a must to improve your betting position.
  3. Decide on which wagers you want to play: Beyond researching the races, understanding the betting odds and potential payouts for the bet types you want to play is crucial to betting success. Make sure you’re balancing risk and reward in the pursuit of winning wagers.
  4. Lock in your bets: Off-track betting facilities typically have both staffed betting windows and self-service kiosks to process the wagers you intend to make. Either way, make sure you have a list of the horses you’re backing to streamline the process. You’ll also want to have a photo ID on hand to confirm you are of legal age to bet on the races.
  5. Watch the races and wait for your winnings: Once you’ve placed your bets, all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy the races with other bettors! Most OTB facilities will also have bars/restaurants as part of the operation so you can grab some grub while watching the races unfold.

Expert advice when off-track betting in Virginia

We asked our Virginia horse race betting experts for their best advice when off-track betting. Here are their top tips for gamblers in Virginia.

  • Use past performances to help predict future results: While no future results are guaranteed, you can study previous races from the horses in the field to find favorable betting positions and unlock hidden value. Looking at factors like which gate the win, place, and show horses started in and how their position changed their navigation through the course is always a sound strategy. It’s also important to observe whether the horses tend to pace throughout the runs, or if they would rather wait until the home stretch for a burst of speed or take the lead early on and hold on throughout the race.
  • Find a balance between backing favorites and playing the field: According to the American Quarter Horse Association, horses that enter the race as a favorite win roughly 40% of races, compared to a roughly 36% rate for thoroughbred horses. With that in mind, around 60% of the time, the winning horse will come from somewhere else in the field. In developing your betting strategy, mixing favorites with underdogs on your betting slip will generally lead to more profitable payouts in the long run.
  • Make a plan and stick to it: We live in a world where distractions are more abundant than ever. When taking in the races at an off-track betting facility, there are dozens of ways you can get distracted from your wagers with all the activity around you. There are also other enthusiasts who are making their wagers and may be a bit too overconfident in talking about a certain horse to the point where you consider abandoning your research and changing your wagers in light of their compelling argument for a winner. Worse yet, perhaps you develop a sense of overconfidence after a winning streak or bet out of anger after a run of losses. Shutting out distractions and keeping an even keel while making your bets are paramount to gambling responsibly.

FAQ

Are there any age restrictions for participating in off-track betting in Virginia?

Yes, there are age restrictions for participating in off-track betting in Virginia. You must be at least 18 years of age to wager on horse races in VA.

What types of bets can I place at an OTB location in Virginia?

You can place many different types of bets at OTB locations in Virginia. A few of the most popular options are win, place, and show bets, exactas, trifectas, and pick 3s.

Is off-track betting available year-round in Virginia?

Yes, off-track betting is available year-round in Virginia. OTB facilities will simulcast races from around the world, so you’ll always be able to find races on the schedule.

Can I watch live horse racing broadcasts at off-track betting sites?

Yes, you can watch live horse racing broadcasts at off-track betting sites. OTB facilities will have feeds of many domestic and international races so you won’t have to worry about missing out on an event.

Are there any dining or entertainment options at OTB locations in Virginia?

Yes, there are dining and entertainment options at OTB locations in Virginia. Breakers, Buckets, and The Windmill all have bars and restaurants at the off-track betting facilities. Additionally, Breakers is adjacent to a shopping mall, Buckets has a pool room, and The Windmill will have live music from time to time.

What are the betting limits for off-track betting in Virginia?

The betting limits for off-track betting in Virginia depend on the type of wager you’re making. Typically, the minimum for a standard wager (win, place, show, etc) is $1, though exotic wagers (like trifecta, superfecta, etc) can start as low as $0.10. Upper limits for wagers will depend on the facility and bet type. If you are planning on placing a massive wager, you will want to call the OTB facility ahead of time to ensure everything is above board.