Pennsylvania Race Tracks: Where to Bet on Horse Races in PA

Learn about Pennsylvania's race tracks and legal horse race betting options

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In Pennsylvania, the land-based horse racing betting scene has seen significant growth and transformation over the years. The Horse Racing Industry Reform Act paved the way for the establishment of racetracks, with The Meadows Racetrack being the first to open its doors in 1963. 

Later, in 2004, Act 71, also known as the Pennsylvania Racehorse Development and Gaming Act, further expanded the horizons for racetracks and casinos by establishing the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. 

This legislation legalized not only casinos but also horse race betting within the state’s confines, providing residents with an enriched gambling experience focused on the thrill of the races.

Most Popular Pennsylvania Horse Race Tracks

In this guide, we will highlight several popular pari-mutuel betting venues that Pennsylvania residents can enjoy.

Penn National Race Course

Address: 777 Hollywood Blvd, Grantville, PA 17028, USA
Phone: +1 717-469-2211

Penn National Race Course, located in Grantville, Pennsylvania, has been a central figure in the state’s horse racing community since its inauguration in 1972. Over the years, it has hosted significant events such as the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, a spirited sprint race on turf; the Grade II Penn Mile for three-year-old thoroughbreds; and the Penn Ladies Dash for fillies and mares.

For those keen on betting, the course provides a wide range of options. Traditional bets such as Win, Place, and Show are available, along with more complex wagers like Exacta, Trifecta, and Superfecta. 

For those seeking extended excitement, the Daily Double and Pick 3, 4, 5, and 6 wagers challenge bettors to select consecutive race winners. Beyond its own thrilling races, Penn National offers simulcast racing, where races from tracks across the nation can be watched and wagered on.

Visitors to Penn National Race Course, a prominent feature of the Hollywood Casino, are treated to more than just horse racing. The entertainment extends beyond the racetrack, reflecting the vibrant atmosphere Hollywood Casino is renowned for. Patrons can indulge in gourmet delights at the Final Cut Steakhouse or opt for a more laid-back meal at The Eatery by Fabio Viviani.

Penn National Race Course

For those looking to test their luck, the Barstool Sportsbook awaits with a multitude of betting options. Beyond the thrill of the races, the casino beckons with an array of slots and table games, ensuring an exciting experience for all.

Additionally, the Penn Hero Stage, in association with iHeartRadio, rolls out an impressive lineup of outdoor concerts, featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, further cementing the venue’s status as a premier entertainment destination.

Meadowlands Racetrack

Address: Washington Federal Way, Washington, PA 15301, USA
Phone: +1 724-503-1200

Meadowlands Racetrack and Casino, located in Washington, Pennsylvania, stands as a beacon for horse racing enthusiasts. Known for hosting prestigious events, the track has become a hub for both quarter horse racing and thoroughbred betting in the region.

Beyond the allure of marquee races, patrons are presented with a diverse array of pari-mutuel wagering options. From standard win, place, and show bets to more intricate wagers like exactas and trifectas, there’s something for everyone at this iconic racing venue.

Meadowlands Racetrack

But the excitement at Meadowlands isn’t confined to the racetrack. It’s an extension of the Hollywood Casino at The Meadows, where visitors can try their luck at an expansive casino filled with slots and table games. Those looking for a more laid-back form of entertainment can roll a few frames at the bowling alley or attend events at The Meadows Event Center.

Dining is an experience unto itself with diverse options like The Eatery by Fabio Viviani and The Pub Trackside offering culinary delights. Bettors can immerse themselves in the action at the Barstool Sportsbook or unwind at the Embers Lounge or Bistecca.

For guests looking to extend their stay, hotel deals are available, ensuring comfortable rooms and suites to rejuvenate after a day filled with excitement.

Harrah’s Philadelphia Racetrack

Address: 777 Harrah’s Blvd, Chester, PA 19013, USA
Phone: +1 484-490-1800

Harrah’s Philadelphia Racetrack, an integral part of Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, has carved a niche for itself in the Pennsylvania racing landscape. Located in the heart of the state, this racetrack showcases the fervor of live racing, drawing both enthusiasts and novices to experience the adrenaline firsthand. 

Among its flagship events, the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational stands out, named in homage to the eminent horseman Maxie Lee. This race annually welcomes an elite field of older trotters and pacers from nationwide. 

The Betsy Ross Invitational, specifically tailored for older pacing mares, serves as another crown jewel, gathering the crème de la crème of female standardbreds from North America. 

Additionally, the Great Northeast Open Series, a recurring spectacle spanning Harrah’s Philadelphia, Pocono Downs, and other notable Pennsylvania race tracks, culminates in nail-biting finals, often hosted by Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Harrah's Philadelphia Racetrack

Bettors at Harrah’s have a diverse range of wagering choices including win, place, show, as well as the more intricate exactas and trifectas.

Visitors, however, are treated to more than just horse racing. The expansive casino offers a diverse gaming experience, while ongoing casino promotions ensure there’s always something exciting around the corner. 

Sports enthusiasts can indulge in the state-of-the-art sportsbook, and when it’s time to relax and refuel, a variety of restaurants cater to diverse palates. As the sun sets, the nightlife options promise a vibrant and memorable end to any day spent at this iconic venue.

List of All Pennsylvania Race Tracks

Pennsylvania is home to several renowned racetracks. Here’s a list of the major ones in the state:

Race trackRace Track
Penn National Race CourseParx Racing
Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & RacetrackPresque Isle Downs & Casino
Mohegan Sun PoconoHollywood Casino at The Meadows
The Meadows Racetrack

Simulcast Wagering in Pennsylvania

Gambling legislation across US states allows for simulcast wagering in nearly all states, including Pennsylvania. This popular betting option lets enthusiasts place bets on horse races occurring in other locations, both nationally and internationally. 

Legally permitted in the state, it enables bettors to engage with a broader range of racing events without the need to be present at the actual racetrack.

Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or a newcomer, Pennsylvania’s simulcast offerings deliver diverse betting opportunities combined with the excitement of live racing action. Below are some prominent locations for simulcast wagering in Pennsylvania:

Simulcast Wagering locationAddress
Brandywine Turf Club1021 Baltimore Pike, Concordville, PA 19331
Downs Off Track Wagering1780 Airport Road, Allentown, PA 18109
Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack777 Harrah’s Blvd, Chester, PA 19013
Hollywood Casino at The Meadows210 Racetrack Rd, Washington, PA 15301
Mohegan Sun Pocono1280 PA-315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Northeast Turf ClubRoosevelt Mall Cottman & Bustleton Aves, Philadelphia, PA 19149
Parx Racing2999 Street Rd, Bensalem, PA 19020
Penn National Race Course777 Hollywood Blvd, Grantville, PA 17028
Presque Isle Downs & Casino8199 Perry Hwy, Erie, PA 16509
South Philly Turf Club700 Packer Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148
The Meadows – Harmar Township1 Anchor Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
The Meadows – Moon Township1088 Beers School Road, Coraopolis, PA 15108
The Meadows – New Castle2004 West State Street, New Castle, PA 16101
The Meadows – West Mifflin7025 Clairton Road, West Mifflin, PA 15122

Popular Horse Races in Pennsylvania with Dates

Pennsylvania has a longstanding tradition of horse racing, with many renowned races taking place annually.  As enthusiasts mark their calendars for these events, responsible gambling practices are always encouraged to ensure a safe and enjoyable betting experience.

Race NameLocationDistanceRacing Date
Penn National MillionPenn National Race Course, Grantville, PA1 1/2 miles on dirtSeptember
Hazelnut PaceThe Meadows Racetrack, Washington, PA1 mile on a half-mile trackFebruary
Allegheny CupPresque Isle Downs & Casino, Erie, PA1 1/16 miles on turfAugust
Pennsylvania DerbyParx Racing, Bensalem, PA1 1/8 miles on dirtJuly
Princess Rooney InvitationalPenn National Race Course, Grantville, PA1 1/16 miles on turfJuly

Types of Horse Betting Legal in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, renowned for its rich equestrian heritage, has been at the forefront of the horse racing industry for decades. With numerous reputable Pennsylvania race tracks dotting the landscape, enthusiasts have a myriad of betting options to indulge in. Below is a list of the most common ones:

Pari-Mutuel Betting

This is the most traditional form of betting in horse racing. Pari-mutuel wagering ensures that the bettors are essentially wagering against one another and not against the house. 

Pari mutuel wagering

The total amount bet on a particular outcome (like a horse to win) is pooled together, and after the racetrack takes its cut, the rest is divided amongst the winning bettors.

Win, Place, and Show Bets

These are the most straightforward wagers one can make. A “win” bet is simply betting on a horse to finish first. A “place” bet means betting on a horse to finish either first or second, and a “show” bet means betting on a horse to finish in the top three.

Exotic Bets

These are more complex wagers and can yield significant rewards. Some of the popular exotic bets include Exacta (picking the first and second finishers in the exact order), Trifecta (first three finishers in exact order), and Superfecta (first four finishers in exact order).

Daily Double

The Daily Double is one of the more straightforward multi-race wagers in horse racing. Bettors must select the winners of two consecutive races. Often, this bet is placed on the first two races or the last two races of the day, although some tracks might offer it on any two consecutive races.

The key to winning a Daily Double bet is not only finding one winner but connecting that winner with the horse in the next race to achieve a winning combination.

Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6 Wagers

These sequential multi-race wagers challenge bettors to select the winners of consecutive races. The number indicates how many races a bettor must predict:

  • Pick 3: Select winners of three consecutive races.
  • Pick 4: Choose victors in four straight races.
  • Pick 5: Predict winners in five back-to-back races.
  • Pick 6: The ultimate challenge, select the champions in six sequential races

The difficulty increases with each additional race, but so does the potential payout. Especially challenging wagers like the Pick 6 can result in massive payouts, particularly when carryovers are involved or longshots emerge victorious. While enticing, these wagers also demand thorough analysis and strategy due to their complexity.

Thoroughbred Betting

Arguably the most popular form of Pennsylvania horse racing, Thoroughbred betting involves races that feature the elite of horse racing. These horses are built for speed, and the races they compete in, often found during live racing events, are the ones that draw the most attention and bets.

Quarter Horse Racing

Unlike Thoroughbreds which run long distances, Quarter horses sprint over shorter stretches, typically a quarter of a mile (hence the name). This form of racing offers quick, exhilarating races that are over in less than a minute. It’s a thrilling betting option for those who love high-speed action.

Quarter Horse Racing

Pennsylvania’s regulatory environment ensures that all these forms of betting are safe and transparent for bettors. 

However, if you’re looking for even more options and convenience, several online sportsbooks also offer extensive betting opportunities on horse races both within Pennsylvania and globally. These platforms often provide added flexibility, promotions, and a broader range of events to bet on, enhancing the overall betting experience.

Other Types of Gambling in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania provides a broad spectrum of gambling activities beyond just horse racing. With a mix of casinos, sportsbooks, and other betting avenues, the Keystone State has established a varied gambling landscape. 

In this section, you’ll find detailed information on the various betting options available in Pennsylvania. Whether you’re interested in table games, slots, or sports wagers, you’ll gain insights into what the state offers to its residents and visitors.

History of Pennsylvania Race Tracks

Pennsylvania horse racing has a storied history, tracing its roots back to the colonial era. The early settlers in the state introduced the sport, and over the centuries, it evolved, showcasing the passion and dedication of the locals towards equestrian activities. 

Pennsylvania race tracks became central venues for these events, drawing large crowds eager to witness the spectacle of horse racing and engage in betting activities.

As the years progressed, Pennsylvania horse racing solidified its position in the national racing circuit, with Pennsylvania race tracks hosting significant events that attracted top-tier talent. 

Pennsylvania Race Tracks

These tracks became more than just racing venues; they were hubs for social interaction and cultural events. Over the years, the allure of Pennsylvania race tracks has only grown, reflecting the state’s rich racing heritage and its pivotal role in shaping the sport in the United States. 

Today, the legacy of Pennsylvania horse racing remains strong, continuing to enthrall generations of racing enthusiasts.

Pennsylvania Gambling FAQ

Is Pennsylvania horse racing legal?

Yes, Pennsylvania horse racing is legal. It’s regulated by the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, with pari-mutuel betting permitted at racetracks and licensed off-track locations. Some tracks also offer casino gaming.

Can I bet on horse races in other states?

Yes, while in Pennsylvania, you can bet on horse races from other states through simulcast wagering. This method is legally permitted in the state, allowing bettors to engage with races nationally and internationally.

What’s the largest race track in Pennsylvania?

The largest race track in Pennsylvania in terms of seating capacity and prestige is Parx Racing in Bensalem. It hosts significant events like the Pennsylvania Derby and has a prominent place in Pennsylvania horse racing.

Can I bet on horse races online in Pennsylvania?

Yes, you can bet on horse races online in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) legalized online horse racing betting in 2019, with platforms like TwinSpires and DRF Bets being popular choices. Additionally, many residents turn to safe and trusted offshore sportsbooks.

How can I bet on Pennsylvania horse racing events?

In Pennsylvania, you can place bets on horse racing at racetracks, OTB (off-track betting) parlors, or through online betting sites. Each venue offers a range of betting options, including live races both locally and nationally.

What’s the minimum age to bet on horses in Pennsylvania?

The minimum age to bet on horse races online in Pennsylvania is 21 years old. You must also have a valid government-issued ID.

Does Pennsylvania offer help for horse racing betting addiction?

Yes, Pennsylvania provides support for those facing horse racing betting addiction through organizations like the Pennsylvania Council on Problem Gambling. Their website contains valuable information on gambling addiction, self-assessment tools, and resources to seek assistance.

How has Pennsylvania responded to the repeal of PASPA in terms of sports betting legalization?

Pennsylvania was one of the first states to legalize sports betting after the repeal of the PASPA Sports Protection Act in 2018. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) issued regulations for sports betting in 2019, and the first sportsbooks opened in the state in July 2019.

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