Table of Contents

Massachusetts Horse Racing Betting in 2024

Table of Contents

The horse racing industry offers some of the most exciting action to its dedicated fans. If you’re looking for access to over a hundred horse tracks in the United States and more from around the world, signing up with an offshore sportsbook is the best way to bet on horses in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts has only one track betting location, so online horse betting sites can offer a way for horseplayers to get in on the action without traveling. In this guide, we will go over the top ten Massachusetts betting sites according to our experts. 

Table of Contents

Is horse racing legal in Massachusetts?

Horse racing in Massachusetts has been legal since 1934.

The only live horse racing in Massachusetts at the moment can be found at Plainridge Park Casino, which has harness racing. These races are available from April through November. Located in Plainville, this facility opened in 1999 and offers live and simulcast racing.

There have not been any live thoroughbred events at Suffolk Downs since June 2019. Nowadays, the track only operates simulcast races on-site. For these reasons, offshore sportsbooks have become a popular option for horse bettors in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Horse Race Betting FAQs

Plainridge Park Casino hosts live harness races; it is the only operating horse racing facility in the state.

Yes, horse racing is legal in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Division of Racing regulates the state’s horse racing industry and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission oversees horse race betting and ensures compliance with regulations.

You can bet at the track, online with any offshore sportsbook or with state-regulated mobile sportsbook sites, which have been available since March of 2023.

There are no operating thoroughbred tracks left in Massachusetts. The last track in the state is Plainridge Park, which is a harness track.

Unfortunately, there are no major races held in Massachusetts at this time, but horse racing enthusiasts can place bets on horse racing events from around the country by using our offshore betting platforms.

Ranking the Top 10 Betting Sites for Horse Racing in Massachusetts

These are the top ten sites for horse racing in Massachusetts according to our betting experts:

  1. Bovada – Horse bettors get great bonuses
  2. BetOnline – Lots of tracks to choose from
  3. Heritage Sports – VIP service for horse bettors
  4. BetAnySports – Features reduced juice odds
  5. BookMaker – Sharp action on horses welcome
  6. JustBet – Fixed odds on big events
  7. BetUS – Interactive section very informative
  8. WagerWeb – Same-day crypto payouts available
  9. Everygame – Horse racing market with interesting options
  10. SportsBetting.ag – Large betting limits on fixed odds

All of the sites listed above are offshore sportsbooks. These are the best options available to online horse racing bettors in Massachusetts at the moment. There is only one betting facility in the state for live in-person betting on horse races.

If you want access to tracks on a global level, then we suggest you take a look at the options in this guide. Not only will you get access to these races outside of Massachusetts, but you’ll also have the opportunity to claim exciting bonuses that you can use for more action in the racebook. 

Reviewing the Best Massachusetts Horse Racing Betting Sites

If you are looking to bet on horses online, there are a handful of offshore betting sites that can help you accomplish this. There are sites located in the U.S. where you can bet on horses, but they lack the perks that come with using an offshore site.

The advantage of signing up with one of these offshore sites is that you have access to hundreds of tracks from around the world, as well as other online sports betting and casino gaming options. Below we’ll review each one of these sites and highlight the reasons why you would sign up with one of them for online horse racing betting in Massachusetts.

1. Major Races Have Bigger Payouts: Bovada

Bovada

Established 2011

Visit Bovada
9.9
Best For
Mobile Bettor 9.0
Trust 9.9/10
Banking 8.6/10
Bonuses 8.8/10
Odds 8.9/10
Customer Service 9/10
Betting Limits 9.8/10
CURRENT PROMOTION
$750 Cash Bonus

Key Features

As far as brand names go, Bovada has a reputation for providing some of the best services in the online gambling industry. One of the things that horseplayers in Massachusetts have enjoyed the most about betting at Bovada is the max payout on high-profile races. They are easily among the highest payout amounts among others offered at various sports betting sites.

Bonuses in the horse racing industry can vary from deposit bonuses to rebates. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, so the choice depends on the type of player you are. The rebates tend to favor consistent players because they give you back a percentage of the money that you’ve lost. Bovada has a unique bonus for horse racing bettors in the sense that they allow their welcome bonus to apply to horse racing as well. The promo codes at Bovada can also frequently be used in the racebook as well.

This is another example of why Bovada is a great place to bet on horses. Most of the top offshore sportsbooks do not allow welcome bonuses to be used on horse racing. As a brand, Bovada is a leader, not a follower and you can be sure that if you sign up with them you’ll benefit from that elite level of service.

2. Rebates for Horse Racing: BetOnline

BetOnline

Established 2001

Visit BetOnline
9.8
Best For
Bonus Hunter 8.5
Trust 9.8/10
Banking 8.6/10
Bonuses 8.8/10
Odds 9.2/10
Customer Service 9/10
Betting Limits 9.8/10
CURRENT PROMOTION
50% Free Play

Key Features

There are two different types of odds in horse racing, fixed odds and pari-mutuel odds. We will break down the differences between the two later in this guide but a quick explanation would be that fixed odds stay the same, as the name suggests. Pari-mutuel odds are calculated as a share of the total money bet on a race. The odds are only determined after all bets are placed which essentially makes it the opposite of fixed odds.

BetOnline offers fixed odds on the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup. They release these odds well in advance of those events, allowing you to get in on the action early. While BetOnline is known for having some of the best sports betting odds in the industry, this feature also translates to their racebook.

In terms of bonuses, BetOnline’s racebook offering for Massachusetts horseplayers involves a money rebate. On straight bets, you can get a 4% discount. Additionally, players can get a 9% discount on exotic wagers, and tons of other bonuses using exclusive BetOnline promo codes.

3. Horseplayers Have Access to Several Markets: Heritage Sports

Heritage Sports

Established 2001

Visit Heritage Sports
9.6
Best For
Seasoned Gambler 8.6
Trust 9.6/10
Banking 8.6/10
Bonuses 8.2/10
Odds 9/10
Customer Service 9/10
Betting Limits 9.7/10
CURRENT PROMOTION
25% Free Play

Key Features

Heritage Sports has built its reputation on the back of its sportsbook as its name suggests. That hasn’t stopped them from supplying fantastic services in all other aspects of online gambling. The mobile version of their racebook has made it easy for players in Massachusetts to make wagers on the go.

One of the advantages of using offshore sportsbooks for horse racing is the fact that you have access to a wide range of offerings. Odds are what separate Heritage from the pack and not just sports odds, as the number of betting markets they offer is top of the line as well. That means access to tons of tracks and several betting options that aren’t always available with other horse racing sites.

While you make the most of your experience with Heritage, you will benefit from their reduced juice betting model on sports. They offer -108 on spreads and totals which is 20% cheaper than most of the competition. They also have a selection of bonuses and promos available.

4. Enjoy the Benefit of Reduced Juice: BetAnySports

BetAnySports

Established 2002

Visit BetAnySports
9.6
Best For
Seasoned Gambler 8.9
Trust 9.6/10
Banking 9/10
Bonuses 8.7/10
Odds 9.6/10
Customer Service 8.5/10
Betting Limits 9.8/10
CURRENT PROMOTION
30% Cash Bonus

Key Features

The reduced juice betting model that BetAnySports uses does not apply to their racebook offering. That said, bettors in Massachusetts have enjoyed those benefits when making sports wagers. Of course, BetAnySports does offer discounts on their racebook which is essentially a variation of their existing model.

Where they excel in this space is with their bonuses. If there is a criticism of their sportsbook, it would be that their bonuses aren’t very competitive. What most customers, even experienced bettors at times, fail to understand is that big bonuses are not possible with a reduced juice model like they use. BetAnySports is able to give racebook-specific bonuses since their reduced juice model does not apply to horse racing. BetAnySports offers a 25% bonus with a max deposit of $2,000. This bonus comes with a 6x playthrough requirement.

5. Accepts Action From Horse Racing Bettors: BookMaker

BookMaker

Established 1996

Visit Bookmaker
9.5
Best For
Professional Bettor 9.0
Trust 9.5/10
Banking 8.6/10
Bonuses 8.2/10
Odds 9/10
Customer Service 9/10
Betting Limits 9.8/10
CURRENT PROMOTION
$500 Cash Bonus

Key Features

BookMaker is a regular in terms of being positioned on our lists of recommended top offshore betting sites. Horse racing bettors in Massachusetts have long been reaping the benefits of having an account at BookMaker with access to tracks from all over the world.

They have excellent promos for horse racing bettors where you can get a 3% discount on win, place and show bets. Every horse racing site offers different types of bonuses either in the form of a deposit bonus or a rebate. BookMaker also offers an 8% discount on exotic bets as well.

BookMaker has a reputation for taking all action including from professionals. The reason that is important to you is that professional bettors will not settle for anything less than top-of-the-line offerings. If it’s good enough for the pros, then they will have everything you need.  

Comparing the Best Sites for Horse Racing in Massachusetts

All of the online horse betting sites mentioned in this guide are excellent options. One of the benefits of signing up with these offshore betting sites is that they serve as a one-stop shop for several forms of gambling. These sites offer online casinos and are active providers in the sports betting market.

This is a crucial point because which site is best for you is a matter of personal preference. For example, if you prefer bonuses on deposits instead of rebates on your action, then there are some racebooks that won’t be for you. If the odds market is your priority and you want access to specific tracks outside of the U.S., that’s a completely different feature to consider.

Our rating guide serves to point you in the right direction by providing you with details of features that will allow you to have the best possible experience when wagering at online horse betting sites. While our experts have given you the sites that they believe are the best, their insight does not limit you to using just one. You might end up opening multiple accounts because there are certain features that you may like at one racebook that aren’t offered at another.

Horse Racing Fixed Odds

Most horse racing events are paid out via the pari-mutuel system. Fixed race odds are usually only available for big events. We can’t say which sites will offer fixed odds for what specific races, however all of the sites that we’ve recommended for horse racing bettors in Massachusetts have excellent customer service. We suggest you contact them to get as much information as possible about the races on which they’ll be offering fixed odds.

Horse Racing Betting Options

There are several betting options when wagering on horse racing. Here is a list of the most common types of bets you’ll have access to:

  • Win
  • Place
  • Show
  • Across the board
  • Exacta
  • Trifecta
  • Boxed exacta
  • Boxed trifecta
  • Exacta wheel
  • Head to heads
  • Daily doubles
  • Pick 3
  • Pick 4

There are other types of horse betting than this, and you can request more information when you speak to a customer service representative of the site you’re interested in playing at, or you can observe the options available just by navigating their website.

Horse Racing Betting Promotions

Horse racing promotions on offshore sites come in two forms: deposit bonuses and rebates.

Deposit bonuses are straightforward and come in the form of a percentage of the amount you deposit. That bonus money comes with a certain amount of required action that is determined by the racebook.

Rebates are based on the action you put forth in the casino. You would be offered a percentage of those losses in the form of a bonus. These bonuses usually have a minimum and maximum amount you can claim.

Special Features for Horse Racing

This is one of the favorite features of horse racing bettors in Massachusetts. Offshore sportsbooks provide you with tools that will help you pick winners. Many of them allow you to look deeper than the initial horse racing odds. Things like past performance information, for example, mean a lot when making you make a more informed decision.

Horse Racing Welcome Bonus

As previously discussed, not all racebooks offer welcome bonuses. Some reward customers in the form of rebates on their previous action.

If welcome bonuses are a priority, you need to review each of these sites carefully before making a deposit to make sure they have what you are looking for.

User Experience

There are several types of horse races going off at all times of day and night all over the world. For that reason, the user experience in horse racing is important because time is of the essence. A sleek modern design with good odds and a customer service team that is available to assist are all part of the user experience. When trying to wager on horses on the go, a good mobile offering is important to your user experience as well.

Live Streaming

This is not available with every online racebook. BetOnline does offer this feature which allows you to watch a race that you have action on. Some sites will allow you to watch a live stream of selected horse races right on the site.

Best Massachusetts Horse Racing Betting Sites

Below we’ve listed the criteria our horse betting experts used while making this list.

Brand Reputation

All of these offshore horse racing sites are only as good as their reputation. Since they aren’t located in the United States, these entities understand that their reputation is what keeps the doors open. Once that goes, there is little chance that they will last the test of time. Most of the sites that we have recommended either have decades of experience or belong to a larger group that does.

Either way, a bad reputation is a death sentence for an offshore sportsbook which is why we can confidently say that all of the horse racing sites that we recommend for players in Massachusetts have a great reputation.

Payment Options

This applies to all forms of gambling. No player is going to deposit money into an account unless they are sure they will get it back once they win. Without solid deposit and withdrawal options, a horse racing site can’t get an endorsement from our betting experts. We strongly advise you to stay away from sites that don’t have multiple payout options.

Safety & Security

This is part of a site’s reputation and it goes both ways. Most customers that play at online racebooks make deposits via credit card. If you choose to fund your account this way, you will be required to prove your identity and that the card you use belongs to you.

This is a part of the safety and security that offshore sportsbooks need in order to operate. They don’t want money from you unless they know it’s yours. This is one of the reasons we recommend that players deposit via crypto, for safety, security and efficiency reasons.

These online gambling sites have no choice but to operate this way as a part of making sure that their reputation is solid.

Speed & User-Friendliness

Speed can refer to the navigation of the site or payout times. It can also refer to response time from customer service. Either way, speed, and user-friendliness are certainly deciding factors when choosing what horse race betting site is right for you.

Customer Support

All of the sites that we’ve recommended have excellent customer service. Even the few that don’t offer around-the-clock service will give you exceptionally quick response times while also having the ability to answer all of your questions and resolve any issues that come up.

Overall Value on Offer

Here are the things to consider when trying to determine the value on offer:

  • Types of bonuses being offered
  • Size of bonuses
  • Customer service response times
  • Deposit and withdrawal options
  • Odds market
  • Selection of horse races

How to Bet on Horse Races in Massachusetts

There are several offshore betting sites that offer horse racing in Massachusetts.

The most popular for Massachusetts horse bettors are:

  • BookMaker
  • Heritage Sports
  • Bovada
  • BetOnline

All of these sites provide you with access to some of the best tracks in the world. The added advantage to betting on horses with one of these offshore sites is that you can also bet on sports, play casino games like slots and table games, or head over to the poker room to get in on the action. 

How does horse racing betting work in Massachusetts?

Most bets on horse racing events are paid out on a pari-mutuel basis which is also the case in Massachusetts. In a pari-mutuel system, all of the money wagered on the race goes into a pool that is split up between the winners after the bookmaker (or the track) takes their cut.

This is different from fixed odds which is the other type of bet. If you’ve ever bet on sports then you’ll be familiar with fixed odds as the price of the wager is set before the event takes place. In pari-mutuel betting, you don’t know how much you stand to win pre-race. You can, however, get an estimate which is provided by the track handicapper. This number is never exact but will at least give you some idea of the amount you stand to win.

Horse Racing Betting Odds

There are two types of odds used in horse race betting: fixed odds and pari-mutuel.

Fixed Odds for Horse Racing Betting in Massachusetts

Fixed odds tell you how much you will be paid for a certain result before all bets have been made.

Odds with a plus sign indicate that you will win more than you risk. For example, when the odds are +120, if you bet $1 you win $1.20.

  • A $10 bet returns $12
  • A $100 bet returns $120

Odds with a minus sign indicate that you will win less than you risk. For example, when the odds are -120, if you bet $1 you win $0.83.

  • A $10 bet returns $8.33
  • A $100 bet returns $83.33

These odds also can appear in the fractional format. In this case, you would simply multiply the bet amount by the fraction. It should be noted that you do not have to be proficient in math to understand this. Every one of these recommended sites allows you to enter the amount you want to risk into their betting slip and your win amount would be calculated for you.

The main thing that should be noted with fractional odds is that if the first number in the fraction is bigger, then you win more than you risk. If the first number is smaller, you win less than you risk.

  • A $100 bet on 5/1 odds would return $500
  • A $100 bet on 4/5 odds would return $80

Pari-Mutuel Betting in Massachusetts

When placing a pari-mutuel wager, the odds are a little bit more complicated.

There is a track oddsmaker who will give a projection of what the odds will be. True odds for a pari-mutuel wager will only be available once all of the money has been in. Once the race has been completed, the industry will take its cut and the remaining funds will be paid out to individuals with winning tickets.

Pool Betting on Massachusetts Horse Races

This is a different way of describing pari-mutuel betting. This is how races in Massachusetts are paid out instead of fixed odds.

What are the different types of horse racing bets?

There are multiple bet types associated with horse racing betting and it’s important to understand the differences between each of them.

Win: A straight bet on a horse to finish in first place.

Place: A wager on a horse to finish first or second.

Show: A wager on a horse to finish first, second or third.

Exacta: An exotic bet for horses that will finish in the top two spots. 

Across-the-board: A bet comprised of three separate win, place and show bets.

Trifecta: A wager predicting the winner, the runner-up and which horse will be in third place in that exact order.

Superfecta: For this bet, you must pick which horses will finish in first, second, third and fourth places in the exact order.

Daily Double: A wager that requires a player to predict the winner of two consecutive races.

Pick 3/4/5/6: These wagers entail picking a winner in three, four, five or six consecutive races, which can earn you a bigger payout.

Massachusetts Horse Racing Betting Terms

There are a number of terms that are specific to horse racing and being more familiar with them will help you to become a sharper bettor whether it’s at a retail sportsbook or with an online sports betting operator.

  • At the post: This means that the horses are lining up to get the race started. This is when betting usually ends at most racebooks, though some will offer in-play wagers.
  • Blinkers: This refers to the headgear that restricts the field of vision for the horses.
  • Claiming Race: A race where every runner is up for sale.
  • Dead Heat: This means that two horses finish at the same time.
  • DQ: This term refers to a horse that has been disqualified.
  • Exotic bet: A bet with multiple outcomes. For example, a trifecta or an exacta.
  • Favorite: The horse most likely to win according to oddsmakers. Their payout would be the lowest on the board if they win.
  • Fixed Odds: These odds are determined pre-race regardless of the amount of action received by the racebook. This is the opposite of pari-mutuel wagering.
  • Furlong: Represents one-eighth of a mile.
  • Length: The length of a horse. This is used to depict the margin of victory in a close race. Specific parts of the horse can be used depending on how close the race is. 
  • Morning Line: An estimate of the possible odds for every horse. This is provided by a track handicapper. Usually for pari-mutuel events.
  • Pari-Mutuel Wagering: Most horse races determine payouts with what’s called the pari-mutuel system. All of the money bet on the race goes into the pari-mutuel pool. That money then gets divided between winning bettors after the track takes its cut.
  • Purse: Prize money given to the owners of the horses. The owner of the winning horse receives the biggest purse.
  • Tote Board: A digital board that shows payouts for each market for the most recent race at a track.
  • Triple Crown: The three premiere races in America. They consist of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
  • Wager: Another way of saying making a bet.

How to Calculate Horse Race Betting Odds

Fixed odds are calculated for you. 

For pari-mutuel wagering, odds are calculated after the race once all of the best are in.

Massachusetts Horse Racing Odds Chart:

The below chart highlights what you would get paid based on a $2 bet on fixed odds. The reason it’s based on $2 is that that is the minimum bet required at most tracks. We have also included fractional odds as well since many racetracks also use them. 

The implied probability is the horse’s chance of winning based on the odds you’re being offered.

Horse Racing Odds $2 Wager Payout Implied Probability of Winning
1/5 (-500) $2.40 83.33%
1/4 (-400) $2.50 80%
1/3 (-300) $2.60 75%
1/2 (-200) $3.00 66.67%
4/6 (-150) $3.33 60%
1/1 (-100) $4.00 50%
2/1 (+200) $6.00 33.33%
3/1 (+300) $8.00 25%
5/1 (+500) $12 16.67%
10/1 (+1000) $22 9.00%
50/1 (+5000) $102 1.96%

The History of Horse Racing in Massachusetts

The timeline below demonstrates the history of horse racing in Massachusetts.

  • 2020: Efforts begin to legalize other forms of wagering in the state.
  • 2019: Suffolks Downs holds its last live race on June 30th.
  • 2005: Northampton County Fair held its last race.
  • 1999: Plainridge Racecourse opened as a harness horse racing track.
  • 1947: The first Harness races are held at the Bay State Raceway.
  • 1935: Suffolk Downs, the first permanent thoroughbred racecourse in Massachusetts, is established.
  • 1935: Marshfield Fair, the first racing track for horses, opened in the state.

Massachusetts Horse Racing Betting Bonuses

Bonuses are a common feature of many online racebooks with a variety of betting bonuses and promo codes being offered to their customers. Some of the most common bonus types are:

Welcome Bonus

Welcome bonuses are for new customers after making their first deposit. Not all racebooks offer welcome bonuses.

Risk-Free Bet

This is a free bet given by a racebook without a required deposit.

Loyalty/VIP Program

Speak to the racebook you sign up with to see how loyalty points are calculated regarding horse racing. 

Those points can be redeemed for free chips in the future at your discretion. 

Racebook Rebates

This is usually given in lieu of a deposit bonus. 

These rebates are either given out weekly or monthly. It is a percentage of your net losses for a given time period that you receive as a bonus. These bonuses usually come with a playthrough requirement and a maximum cashout limit.

Bonus Terms and Conditions at Massachusetts Horse Racing Betting Sites

Most bonuses you receive will come with terms and conditions. These terms are usually a playthrough requirement and a maximum cashout. 

Rollover Requirements

An example of a playthrough requirement would be:

  • You receive a $100 bonus with a 5xplaythrough.
  • This means you have to risk $500 before you can request a cashout.
  • In other words, you have to make $500 worth of bets, win or lose, in order to complete the requirement. 

How to Start Betting at Horse Racing Sites in Massachusetts

When signing up for an online racebook, first click the “Join Now” or “Register” button. This will then take you to a standard sign-up sheet that you will need to fill in with the correct details. If you are depositing with a credit card, your transaction is less likely to be approved if the information you provide is not accurate.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll select a password and your preferred currency. At that point, you should be all set. If you are having any issues beyond this step, we recommend you reach out to a customer service representative to help you complete your registration.

Other Types of Gambling in Massachusetts

These are the only types of gambling allowed in Massachusetts:

  • Sports betting
  • Pari-mutuel horse betting
  • State lottery

What is the best site for horse racing betting in Massachusetts?

This part is up to personal preferences when betting on horses. Determine the factors important to you when playing at an online betting site in order to determine which one is the best.

As far as our betting experts are concerned, they’ve highlighted BookMaker as the best horse racing betting site. This was determined based on their odds market, promotions, fast payouts and customer service.

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