Enjoy bets on thoroughbred, quarter horse and standardbred horse races in Indiana.
Horse racing at county fairs has been a mainstay in Indiana since the 1800s.
While many states legalized pari-mutuel betting early, the Hoosier State only introduced this in a 1993 bill. The first racetrack would follow in 1994, with the first thoroughbred race where betting was allowed taking place the following year.
Today, Indiana enjoys a packed racing calendar. There are plenty more opportunities to bet on horses. You can enjoy simulcast races from tracks around the country at off-track betting (OTB) locations, bet online at legal US racing betting sites or visit the tracks yourself.
This page covers all you need to know about horse racing in Indiana. First, we cover the tracks, then follow with OTB offices. After that, we introduce the legal betting sites and sportsbook apps. You’ll find information on the key races in the calendar as well as the critical moments in Indiana’s racing history after that.
Is betting on horse races legal in Indiana?
An act was passed to legalize pari-mutuel betting in 1993. The first races with betting occurred the next year.
There are three ways to legally bet on horses in Indiana. Each one is explained in detail below, here is a summary:
How to bet on horses in Indiana
- At the racetracks: You can place bets at the Indiana Grand or Hoosier Park racetracks, and this not confined to live events. Both venues have simulcast betting, with live races from around the country shown.
- OTB venues: In addition to the live and simulcast betting at the Indiana racetracks, there are three off-track betting offices in Indianapolis, Clarkesville and New Haven. You can enjoy a drink and a meal while placing bets in these venues.
- Online betting: Two of the three major legal horse racing betting sites are available to Indiana residents. These are BetAmerica and TVG betting. Both allow bets on domestic and international races online on either desktop or mobile devices.
Major horse racetracks in Indiana
Country fairs take place throughout the summer and often feature standardbred horse races. For the best of the action, you’ll need to head to one of the two major racetracks. These are Hoosier Park, in Anderson, and the Indiana Grand racetrack close to Shelbyville. I have started with the ‘Grand’ below, as this venue features thoroughbred racing.
1. Indiana Grand Racecourse
This venue is located at Shelbyville, around 30 minutes from Indianapolis. Caesars Entertainment owns and operates the venue. The racing season runs from April to October each year, which includes thoroughbred and quarter horse racing.
There is a lot more to the Indiana Grand than just the racing. This is a “racino” with a big casino hosting more than 2,000 slots, table games and a poker room. There are numerous dining options and an entertainment complex which has hosted many well-known musicians.
The biggest race each year is the Indiana Derby. This is a thoroughbred event, which moved to the Grand from Hoosier Park in 2013. With a purse of $500,000, it attracts many of the best 3-year-old’s over 8.5 furlongs on the dirt track.
This is one of many “stakes” races including the Indiana Oaks (for fillies), Sagamore Sired Stakes, Shelby Crown Stakes, Indiana Grand and Crown Ambassador stakes. There are significant events for standardbred and quarter horse racing, too. The highlight of the calendar is the Breeders Crown Open Pace.
Indiana Grand information:
- 4300 N. Michigan Road, Shelbyville, IN 46176, USA
- Open 24 hours
2. Hoosier Park racecourse
Indiana’s other racecourse is located close to Anderson, northeast of Indianapolis. This course no longer has thoroughbred races, though you will find a packed standardbred and harness racing schedule.
Caesars Entertainment also owns this racetrack casino, which bought this track along with the Indiana Grand in 2018. It was recently renamed as Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.
Along with betting on the live action, you will find simulcast racing all year round. This allows you to bet on races from around the country. Live racing takes place from April to October.
As well as the dirt racetrack, you’ll find a busy casino, entertainment complex and several restaurants on the site.
While the lack of thoroughbred racing means no big-name races, there are many “stakes” events for standardbred horses. These include the Dan Patch Stakes, which has a purse of $300,000. The highlight of the harness racing calendar, the Breeders Crown, was run at Hoosier Park in 2017.
Hoosier Park information:
- 4500 Dan Patch Circle, Anderson, IN 46013
- Hours: Open 24 hours
Off track betting in Indiana
If you can’t make the racetracks, you can bet on races from Indiana and tracks in many other states via OTB (Off Track Betting) venues. OTBs are licensed to take bets and show simulcast live footage of the races. You’ll find that some OTB venues include dining and entertainment options, too.
There are currently three OTBs to choose from in Indiana:
- Winners Circle OTB: In Clarksville, this venue promotes itself as a Vegas-style lounge. It offers big screens to follow the action, as well as smaller personal screens. A bar and food concessions are available. The hours are 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays, with midnight closing Fridays and Saturdays.
- Winners Circle OTB: In Indianapolis, this downtown venue offers a daily racing calendar and sports broadcasting, too. As well as the ability to bet on racing, you’ll find a pub and grill, and the Triple Crown Club lounge, which does require membership. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays to Thursdays, and until 1 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
- Winners Circle OTB: In New Haven and located close to Fort Wayne, this venue has a bar for regular and craft beers. It also hosts a New Orleans-style restaurant called Voodoo BBQ & Grill. Opening hours are shorter than the other venues, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays, and closes at 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Both Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand racetracks allow OTB on races around the country, along with screens for simulcast racing.
Is online horse betting legal in Indiana?
Two websites allow you to bet on horses online from Indiana right now. These are US-based and completely legal.
While bill H 1015 has put the framework for Indiana online sports betting in place, horse race betting in Indiana has been legal and regulated online for several years.
When you bet at these sites, you’ll be entering the pari-mutuel pools just like when you go to the tracks or off-track betting venues.
You can deposit and withdraw using regular bank cards and common payment methods. You can even get an edge in your betting via free results services and past performance data.
2 best horse betting sites in Indiana
The Television Games Network runs this brand. Anyone that enjoys horse racing will know of this channel and its excellent coverage of the sport. The website is impressive and streams content (including live races) while you bet.
While the focus is on domestic racing or all types, there are plenty of opportunities to bet on international races, too.
The statistics library on the website will help you to choose the most profitable bets before you enter the pari-mutuel pools. As well as singles, bets with bigger potential are possible, including the “pick 5” bets will rollover pools.
New bettors at TVG get a matched deposit bonus in the form of a free bet of up to $200. Use the promo code FALL1, place your first wager and TVG will put the amount you wagered straight back into your account if you lose.
This site has almost 20 years of experience via telephone and online. It covers hundreds of tracks from across the country and international races, too. In addition to horse and greyhound betting, you can enter handicapping contests, or sports picks (DFS) style contests.
We like the simplicity of the bonus offer at BetAmerica. You get a 100% match on your first deposit, up to $100. This is cleared from your bonus account at 10% of the wagers you make.
BetAmerica offers a VIP loyalty program and promotions that return your stake if your selection finishes second.
With apps, free past performance data (on events you bet on) and easy banking options, BetAmerica make it easy to wager online on events at the Indiana Grand or around the world.
History of Indiana horse racing
While Indiana was late to the party with passing pari-mutuel betting laws, horse racing does have a long tradition there.
In the 1800s, the state fair and many smaller summer fairs featured standardbred and quarter (harness) racing. These were popular activities during a period where few home-based entertainment options existed. There was no official way of wagering on these races.
With the Prohibition Era soon to follow, it would be a long time until those betting options became available.
The Riverboat Casinos Act of 1993 was the first step toward liberalizing gambling laws.
As well as introducing the casino licenses, this act allowed pari-mutuel betting. The first racetrack was built (at Hoosier Park) and opened its doors on July 1, 1994.
Indiana Downs would open in 2002, which has since changed its name to Indiana Grand. Both tracks are under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.
In 1995, the first thoroughbred racing started at Hoosier Park. Events like the Indiana Derby and Oaks would go on to become “stakes” races, attracting the top talent from around the country, including Triple Crown winners.
In 2012, thoroughbred racing was moved to the Indiana Grand. Hoosier Park still features a packed calendar of standardbred and quarter horse races.
Both racetracks would get permission to add slots and table games in 2007. Today they are called “racinos,” which refers to a mix of racetrack, casino and events center.
Horse betting in Indiana
Residents of Indiana have a lot of options when it comes to betting on horse races. These include online betting at two long-running and fully regulated online racebooks.
While a day at one of the big Indiana racetracks is always exciting, not everyone lives close to Indianapolis. There are OTB venues dotted around the state. You can enjoy a meal and a drink while betting on the action from all across the country.
With bill H 1015 adds online sports betting to the mix, the future for gambling – both live and online – looks bright for Indiana.