South Carolina Race Tracks: Where to Bet on Horse Races in SC

Learn about South Carolina's race tracks and legal horse race betting options

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Horse race betting is not permitted in South Carolina due to its strict gambling laws. While there have been efforts to legalize it, none have succeeded. To bet on horse races, residents must visit neighboring states like North Carolina, Georgia, or Florida.

Most Popular South Carolina Horse Race Tracks

There have been a number of efforts to legalize land-based race track betting in South Carolina, but none have been successful. In recent years, there has been increased support for legalization, but it is still unclear whether or not it will happen anytime soon.

If you are interested in betting on horse races in South Carolina, you will need to travel to a nearby state, such as Florida in the south:

Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino

Address: 901 S Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
Phone: +1 954-454-7000

Gulfstream Park Racing, situated in sunny Florida, is one of the premier racing venues in the United States, hosting some of the most prestigious horse races on the national calendar. 

The track is particularly noted for its Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series, a remarkable set of three races with the highlight being the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, ranking it among the world’s richest horse races. 

Another prominent event is the Florida Derby, a Grade I race that serves as a significant prep race for 3-year-olds aiming for the Kentucky Derby.

Getting at Gulfstream Park provides a comprehensive experience for both novice and seasoned gamblers. The available bet types range from the straightforward Win, Place, and Show Bets to the more intricate Exacta and Trifecta Bets, ensuring a variety of wagering options for attendees.

Gulfstream park racing

However, Gulfstream Park is not merely about horse racing. It’s a comprehensive entertainment destination. The venue boasts a casino complete with an array of slots and table games, perfect for those looking to try their luck off the racetrack. 

For patrons with a taste for the finer things, the park offers an exquisite dining experience with venues like Tito’s raw bar, Derby grill, and Char, among others. Beyond dining and gaming, guests can indulge in shopping sprees or attend special events, making Gulfstream Park Racing a holistic entertainment venue.

Tampa Bay Downs

Address: 11225 Race Track Rd, Tampa, FL 33626
Phone: +1 813-855-4401

Tampa Bay Downs, nestled in the heart of Florida, stands as a beacon for horse racing aficionados. Its annual calendar is punctuated with prestigious events, each carrying its own legacy. 

The Tampa Bay Derby, a Grade III event held each March, serves as a critical juncture for contenders eyeing the iconic Kentucky Derby. March also sees the unfolding of the Hillsborough Stakes, a Grade II turf race, which prepares competitors for the Florida Derby. Additionally, the Florida Oaks introduces emerging talents, positioning them for the coveted Kentucky Oaks.

Tampa Bay Downs

Betting enthusiasts have a diverse range of options at their disposal, from the straightforward Win, Place, and Show bets to the more intricate Exacta wagers. 

But Tampa Bay Downs isn’t just about racing; it’s a holistic entertainment hub. Whether you’re aiming for a hole-in-one on the golf course, testing your luck at the casino, savoring gourmet delights, or strategizing at the poker table, there’s something for everyone. 

List of All South Carolina Race Tracks

While South Carolina itself does not have any horse race tracks, neighboring states offer various venues for horse racing enthusiasts. Here are the prominent tracks in nearby states:

StateHorse Race Tracks
South CarolinaNo horse race tracks available.
North Carolina– Carolina Horse Park in Stonybrook
– Haw Hill Raceway in Winnabow
– Rainbow Speedway in Reidsville
Georgia– Hutchinson Island Raceway in Savannah
– Holiday Downs in Palmetto
Tennessee– Percy Warner Park in Nashville (Note: Only for steeplechase racing)
Florida– Gulfstream Park Racing & Casino in Hallandale Beach
– Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa

Simulcast Wagering in South Carolina

In contrast to many U.S. states, South Carolina prohibits pari-mutuel betting. The state hosts very few horse racing events, and betting on simulcast horse or dog races is also forbidden.

For those eager to place wagers, considering reliable and safe online sportsbooks might be a suitable alternative. Many offer a broad range of betting options and are known for their security and user-friendliness. 

Popular Horse Races in South Carolina with Dates

Given that South Carolina doesn’t host any prominent horse races and we’ve previously delved into Tampa Bay Downs, let’s now shift our focus to the most significant race hosted by Tampa Bay Downs horse race track:

Race NameRacing Date
The Tampa Bay DerbyAnnual in March
The Hillsborough StakesAnnual in March
The Florida OaksAnnual in March
The Lambholm South Tampa Bay DerbyAnnual in February
The Pasco StakesAnnual in March

Types of Horse Betting Legal in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the legal landscape for horse betting is quite restrictive. Pari-mutuel wagering, a popular form of wagering on horse races where bettors go against each other rather than the house, is not permitted within state borders. Similarly, other forms of retail sports betting, including pari-mutuel wagering, remain illegal.

South Carolina Law

However, there’s a silver lining on the horizon. State lawmakers have been giving serious consideration to regulating sports betting, which could open the door for these types of wagers in the near future.

Meanwhile, reputable online sportsbooks continue to welcome South Carolina residents, allowing them to dive into the world of online sports betting, especially in areas like quarter horse racing and Thoroughbred betting; these platforms cater to a diverse audience.

These platforms offer a wide range of bet types, catering to both new and experienced bettors:

Pari-Mutuel Betting

A system where wagers are pooled together and the winners share the pot, minus any fees or takeout by the house.

Win, Place, and Show Bets

Fundamental wagers are where you predict a horse to either win the race, finish in the top two (place), or finish in the top three (show).

Exotic Bets

These involve multiple horses and their specific positions in a race. Examples include:

Superfecta betting
  • Exactas and Trifectas: Betting on the precise order of the top two (Exacta) or top three (Trifecta) finishers.
  • Superfectas: Predicting the top four horses in the exact finishing order.

Daily Double

This wager requires picking the winners of two consecutive races.

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

Here, you predict winners of multiple consecutive races, which can lead to substantial payouts due to the increased difficulty.

Other Types of Gambling in South Carolina

For those willing to venture online, South Carolina presents a diverse array of gambling choices, not just limited to South Carolina horse racing. With a combination of casinos, sportsbooks, and other betting platforms, the state offers a varied gambling environment.

In the following list, we’ll detail the plethora of betting options South Carolina extends to its locals and guests.

History of South Carolina Race Tracks

In the annals of American horse racing, South Carolina holds a distinctive place. The history of South Carolina race tracks is a testament to the state’s rich equestrian culture and its evolving stance on racing events. South Carolina horse racing began as a celebrated event, with aristocrats and settlers alike partaking in the festivities surrounding race days.

Charleston Race Course, one of the state’s most notable tracks, was operational during the 19th century. It was a beacon of equestrian activities, hosting prominent horse racing events and drawing enthusiasts from near and far.

However, as times changed, so did the face of South Carolina racing. Over the years, while the passion for equestrian activities remained, live racing events at South Carolina race tracks began to dwindle. The state’s regulatory approach towards horse racing and betting activities largely influenced this shift.

Charleston Race Course

Yet, the heritage of South Carolina horse racing hasn’t been entirely forgotten. Despite the scarcity of live racing events and prominent South Carolina race tracks today, the spirit of the sport lingers in the memories of its residents, echoing the gallops and cheers of yesteryears.

South Carolina Gambling FAQ

Is South Carolina horse racing legal?

When most US gambling laws are starting to ease up, sports betting and South Carolina horse racing are not legal in South Carolina. The South Carolina Constitution prohibits gambling, with the exception of the state lottery and charitable bingo.

Can I bet on horse races in other states?

Yes. While US gambling laws are becoming more lenient, sports betting and horse racing remain illegal in South Carolina.

What’s the largest race track in South Carolina?

South Carolina does not host any horse racing tracks. For individuals in South Carolina who are keen on experiencing live horse racing, Tampa Bay Downs in Florida is one of the nearest major race tracks. 

Can I bet on horse races online in South Carolina?

Yess. Offshore sportsbooks are websites that allow users to bet on sports events, including horse racing. They are not regulated by the US government, but they are legal in some states. Always keep in mind to gamble responsibly.

How can I bet on South Carolina horse racing events?

Offshore sportsbooks are licensed and regulated by reputable gaming commissions, and they have a good reputation for paying out winnings on time. They also offer a wide range of betting options, including horse racing betting.

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

The minimum age to bet on horses in South Carolina is undefined because horse racing is illegal in the state. 

What help does the state of South Carolina offer to gambling addicts?

Those struggling with gambling issues can access information, counseling, and support services through DAODAS.

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

South Carolina has not legalized sports betting since the repeal of PASPA in 2018. There have been a number of bills introduced in the state legislature to legalize sports betting, but none of them have been successful.

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