Horse racing is not just synonymous with betting it is actually largely responsible for creating the gambling culture and institutions we know today. Bookmaking as a profession basically began around the racecourses of the UK since the sixteen century and it has been shaped by sport ever since.
For example, we didn’t have betting shops until the 1960’s is because there was a monopoly on horse racing, with legal betting only allowed at the tracks themselves. Off-track betting wasn’t legalised until 1961 and even then it was heavily restricted.
Suffice to say then that modern day betting sites wouldn’t exist in the same way without horse racing. That certainly does not mean that they are all equal when it comes to providing horse racing markets, offers, features, stats and streaming, though.
In fact, many new sites don’t even offer horse racing, especially ones not based in the UK. Horse racing costs money for sites to create odds or pay for third party feeds and all of the other gubbins likes streaming licenses that come with it. Even many of the sites that do provide for racing have thin markets, little ante-post betting opportunities, no best odds guarantee, no streaming, no stats, no cash out and little reason in general to place your racing bets with them.
It is very important if you bet a lot on racing and you want to find a new site that you look for one that takes the sport seriously, as they should do. On this page we have handpicked some of the better new sites for horse racing and we tell you exactly why that is the case.
- Best For – Promotions For Horse Racing, Tons And Tons Of Offers
- What’s Good – BOG & Other Concessions + Streaming
- What’s Not So Good – Clunky Site, Limited Ante-Post Markets
If there is one nation on this planet that takes horse racing more seriously than the British it is the Irish. It is no surprise that Irish sites like Paddy Power and Boylesports have become so big in horse racing, simply because they care about it so much.
If you want a new site for horse racing, therefore, why not go with an Irish owned one? Quinnbet was founded by Sean Quinn, once the richest man in Ireland, with a passion for racing. If you want to see how focused this site is on racing just take a look at it.
Horse racing dominates here, everything is set up around it. The site is operated by FSB but Quinnbet have the control on the focus of it and you can see they have poured all of their resources in racing. They have streaming, BOG and a ton of other concessions. Take a look at the promos section and you can see just how many offers they run for existing customers for racing. There are 11 different offers for UK, Irish and foreign races at the time of writing.
Some people would look at the site and say its plain and boring but if you are a proper racing punter and what matters to you is finding markets easily with no frills then this site is perfect. It is set up to showcase racing markets rather than to showcase itself. It doesn't look much on the face of it but this is one of the best new sites for racing in many years.
- Best For – Clear Focus On Horse Racing, Good Odds, BOG & Streaming
- What’s Good – Lots Of Promotions For Horse Racing
- What’s Not So Good – Limited Market Depth
If you want a new site that is serious about horse racing then you want a brand that is born out of the sport and who have lived it for decades. BetGoodwin is the rebranded name of Goodwin Racing, which has been going since 1997 and is the largest telephone bookmaker for racing, by volume of bets.
In 2022 they changed the name and went online with a new sportsbook powered by FSB. This is a good match as FSB is a no nonsense site built for proper bettors who just want to focus on markets and BetGoodwin are all about proper racing punters so it works really well.
The company is still UK based and although their site is operated by FSB they have complete say in what goes on there and they have focused most of their resources on racing. This means you get BOG and streaming, great coverage of international racing and nice ante-post depth.
Promos are very strong, at the time of writing all the offers for existing customers are for racing, and they are suited to a range of punters with many of the offers offering insurance up to £100 (as a free bet). The only thing they lack really is news and stats, but you can get that elsewhere and this is still a cracking new site for horse racing nonetheless.
- Best For – Widest Choice Of Features & Markets
- What’s Good – In-Play Betting + Cash Out, Streaming, BOG, Personalised Offers & Lots Of Stats
- What’s Not So Good – Limited Ante-Post Markets, Late To Price Up
Parimatch in the UK are operated by BetVictor, which is ideal in many senses because you are getting a new brand but at the same time all the depth, features, experience and knowhow of BetVictor, who certainly know their horse racing in the UK.
This all means with Parimatch you are getting everything you would normally get at only the bigger sites. This includes best odds guaranteed, streaming, fantastic international depth, cash out (including live) and lots of unique markets (like choosing your own places).
Perhaps the only thing that lets them down, and BetVictor too, is they don't take enough risk in pricing up ante-post markets early enough. Still for big meetings they have all the lines up to a year in advance. The fact they have a good experienced team odds traders too means their general prices are also better than average even without BOG.
- Best For – Independent Platform With Own Traders, Great Odds
- What’s Good – Best Odds Guaranteed & Good Range Of Ante-Post Markets
- What’s Not So Good – No Streaming Or Stats & Limited Market Depth
This is the site to go for if you are not so bothered about watching live streaming because apart from that they have most other things you would want for racing.
Rhino is run by Playbook Engineering, who have developed their own entirely unique platform with their own odds traders, promotions, interface and live betting. There is true personality with this site yet it remains uncluttered and all about the betting markets.
It is exceptionally fast, a very useful aspect when you want to get bets on quickly. There is BOG available and the choice of ante-post markets and foreign racing is impressive - the best on this page and better than many bigger more established bookmakers.
Maybe another thing that lets it down apart form the lack of streaming is a lack of markets within racing. Pretty much Win / EW and forecast / tricast bets only - but if that suits you then this is a fantastic site. Good odds value in general too.
Important Horse Racing Betting Site Features
Why people choose to bet on horse racing is completely subjective and this is why no one feature or product is necessarily the best because we all get different things out of betting on racing. There are, logically, some things that are universally important, like getting good odds value and having the core markets available that you need to place the wagers you want to.
There are also some things that matter more to some than others. Take live streaming, some of us will always want to watch the races we bet on but others bet in advance and simply check the results later. Someone that doesn’t watch live streaming has no need for it from their betting site and that can be important because it costs operators money to get streaming licenses and sites that don’t stream can spend their resources on other things – things that may be more important to you.
Similarly some of us may use cash-out or even cash out during a live race, others may have no interest at all in the feature. Does it matter if your bookie provides you stats and form data, tips and news? Do you bet in advance and so need a site that prices up races early? Maybe you bet on racing outside the UK and you want to ensure they are covered? Here we cover the major features that we think are important for horse racing betting sites to help you weigh up your decisions.
Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG)
Many punters who bet regularly on racing take the best odds guarantee concession for granted these days. Most of the big names offer it and we place bets on the day (sometimes even longer in advance for big meetings) with the knowledge that if the price of the horse drifts out and ends up higher than the fixed odds we were given we will get the better starting price odds instead.
The thing is that while BOG may have become commonplace it is not free and it is certainly not a given that new sites in particular will offer it. Even some of the big names like William Hill, Paddy Power and Sky Bet have reduced their best price guarantee offering in recent years, reflecting the costs involved with it.
Any serious racing punter will want to be getting the best odds as often as they can and so looking out for BOG with a new site is generally important. Without it we could back a horse at say 10/1 and it could drift to 20/1 by the time the race starts, if it does then win you would get half the payout compared with a site that provides BOG. It is possibly the most important feature to look for if you bet on the same day as the race.
If, however, you predominantly bet ante-post you won’t be getting BOG anyway and it would be better to look for a site that gives better ante-post odds in general. A site not offering the price guarantee will be saving money in that area that they may spend on running lower margins for other markets.
Other Concessions and Insurance
BOG isn’t the only thing that betting sites offer to encourage loyalty and make our racing bets more valuable. There are many times of other concessions and insurance you can look for that can give you stake refunds (cash or free bet) or enhanced winnings in various scenarios.
The value of these to you will depend what you bet on, such as; jumps racing vs flat racing, long races or short races, big field handicaps or small field feature races. Here are some of the main concessions and insurance promotions available that you should look for:
- Faller Insurance – Gives you your stake back (usually as a free bet) up to a set amount (usually £10 up to £25) if your horse falls, unseats its rider or is brought down. Naturally good for jumps races, especially long ones with lots of fences, where horses commonly fall.
- Fail To Finish Insurance – Effectively a better version of the above, giving you your stake back if your horse fails to finish for any reason.
- Beaten By A Length / Head / Neck / Nose – If your horse is beaten into second by a set distance get a stake refund, again as a free bet commonly, up to £25, sometimes higher. This is best for shorter flat races over a mile or less where the horses are more likely to be closer crossing the line.
- Money Back 2nd (+ Variations) – Gives you a stake refund, sometimes even in cash, if your horse finishes second. Commonly the offer is expanded to include three or even four places. Another variation is money back if second to the SP favourite. This is most useful in races with smaller fields but can add value to any race.
- No 5p Rule 4 Deductions – When a horse withdraws after a field is declared it can affect the odds of the other horses in the race, meaning you get paid out less. Some site have scrapped the 5p rule, meaning if a horse with odds between 10/1 to 14/1 it will not change the odds for your horse.
- Odds Boosts – Do exactly what they sound like, they let you boost the odds on any horse of your choice. Sometimes once per day sometimes up to three times. Extra winnings are always paid in cash.
If you don’t use these concessions or insurance offers there is again a case to avoid sites that offer them. Promotions cost money to maintain and that usually means something else has to give, like higher odds margins or a lack of other features. If you use these offers they are certainly valuable longer term but if not choose sites that spend their money elsewhere.
Free Bets For Winners
These are fairly rare with newer sites but we have seen them occasionally with some and they are common with the established bookies. Effectively you get a free bet if you win. Well, it’s not as simple as that and the offers have various terms. One of the common variants is a free bet if you back a 4/1+ winner.
If your horse wins with odds of 4/1+ you usually get your stake matched up to a certain amount (£5-£25 is the common range) with a free bet. This may be for the next race, any horse racing or any sports.
You are most likely to find these for feature race events like Cheltenham and Ascot and for ITV televised races. The offers are suited mostly to those that back horses priced above 4/1 (although we have seen 3/1+ offers before now) in larger feature races.
Of all the sports bookmakers provide for horse racing is often the one that punters will want to watch too and live streaming is therefore important. In fact, the first ever live streaming was for horse racing and even now it is still the most streamed sport by betting sites. Even sites that don’t offer streaming of any other sports will have horse racing because it is important to many customers.
It is certainly not guaranteed that a site will have live streaming, especially with new sites. If sites don’t have live streaming and you don’t watch live streams of racing that can be a good thing for you. Live streaming costs money for the broadcast licenses and so if you don’t use it choose a site without it as they can prioritise other features.
More and more live streaming of horse racing is free to watch for any customers but most sites still require you to either bet on the race (usually minimum 50p) or at least have placed bets within a certain time period to watch live streams.
Remember it is possible to bet with one site and watch live streams with another. Many of the big bookies provide free streams to account holders but if you have another site giving you better odds you don’t have to bet with the site you are streaming through.
Most sites that offer streaming cover UK & Irish racing but there are some sites, especially the non-UK focused ones, that will provide streaming from the likes of the US, South Africa, UAE, Australia, France and others.
Live streams are usually delayed by 30 seconds or so. It is common to see the in-play odds suddenly moved and then 20 seconds later see an incident happen in the race. They are not a betting tool as such more to allow you to enjoy the race you’ve bet on.
With any other sport you would take in-play betting for granted but with horse racing not all sites let you bet on the runners after the race starts. Naturally horse races evolve quickly and operators need accurate feeds that update constantly. These cost money to either build or license third-party.
Plenty of sites do provide live betting and you are more likely to find this useful for longer races. The live odds will stop at some point before the race finishes and when that is depends on the site and the feed they have. Some sites will offer live betting longer into races than others.
If you always place racing bets before the start of a race, however, it could be worth choosing a site that doesn’t have in-play betting for racing, especially if they use a third-party odds feed. They then won’t be spending resources on a product that you do not use.
Most sites with cash out will let you cash out on horse racing bets before the race starts. This can even be useful in some situations where the odds of a horse drifts in after you backed it and you can guarantee a positive return by cashing out.
Other times you might just want to cash out because you back the wrong runner or you entered the wrong stake. Cash out can certainly be useful even if you do not use it very often.
It doesn’t really cost anything for sites to provide a way of cashing in a bet early. In fact, it actually makes them profit in the long term as they effectively add a margin to your original odds and also add a margin when you cash out.
You can still make good cash out decisions on an individual basis and get a return from a bet that otherwise would have lost. Over the long term and across all punters, though, bookies make money from cash out. They pay out less in bets cashed in that go on to lose than they gain from bets cashed in that go on to win, which allows them to pay out less.
All in all looking for a site with cash out is a good idea as there are times when it can be useful. In general it should be avoided though as it’s more likely to lose you money long term. If you don’t trust yourself with cash out and end up cashing out often maybe choose a site that doesn’t offer it in the first place.
Cash Out Live
Cashing out on a bet that is live is the most common use of the tool for most other sports but for horse racing it is not always possible to cash out in-play. Just because a site offers cash out doesn’t mean they will let you cash out on a live race.
As with in-play markets for racing the cash out values evolve rapidly as the race progresses. This requires investment in software that can calculate odds quickly and constantly update the payout offered. Not all site have this or can afford to implement it.
Even when live cash out is available for racing it can be suspended at any time. If a horse goes several lengths clear, for example, it is likely to suspend the markets.
Longer races will naturally have cash out availability for more time than shorter races. If the field is bunched up you may get cash out until late into the race, if the field is strung out and there is a likely winner it will usually be suspended fairly early.
Market Depth & Specials
Any site that has horse racing are going to be covering all the main meetings in the UK and Ireland at least. All sites that offer markets will give you the chance to back a horse to win or each-way. There are plenty of sites, however, where it pretty much stops there. If you want market depth you need to look for it.
If you want to place forecasts, tri-casts, full cover bets (like Lucky 15’s and Yankees) and bets like ‘not to win’, ‘betting without the favourite’ and ‘choose you own places’, then you need to look for sites with deeper markets. Even place betting on its own is not always possible with many sites.
If you like exotic markets like Exactas and Trifectas you will need to pick a site that is serious about their racing. Likewise if you want to bet on Tote markets you need to look for sites that affiliate with the Tote system.
Form, News, Tips & Stats
For some punters having stats, form, tips and news about horse racing from their chosen betting site is very important. Other people never look at it at all, they research their bets first and just come onto the site to place them.
It logically costs brands money to pay for all the stats and form data and to write news and tips articles about the races. If you get a lot out of this it is definitely worth finding a site that puts the effort into their content and data. If you don’t really use these things though it can be worth avoiding sites that invest a lot in news and stats because they might be spending less on other features you want.
The best sites for this will be independents who invest in their own teams to run this type of content. Plenty of sites use a half-way house approach and have stats feeds and form data but they don’t have news and tips.
As with all things in life the further into the future you look the more uncertainty there is. This is why many people like to bet ante-post because you can often get better odds by placing wagers in advance because markets are more uncertain the earlier you bet.
The thing is not all sites like to take risks by pricing up markets early. Many sites like to see what other bookies do first before pricing up themselves. If you want a site that prices up markets early you are better looking for independents and those with their own odds traders.
Ante-post betting has better potential pay outs if you do back a winner early but these bets are more risky. With ante-post bets you do not get your money back if the horse doesn’t run, there is no best odds guarantee if the price shortens and you often don’t get extra places.
There are two ways to get extra places. Some sites run extra places on certain races, often more feature races, televised races and ones they sponsor themselves. These vary daily and you need to check between sites the ones that are offering more places on the races you want to bet on.
The other way to get extra places is to look for a site that lets you set your own places. Let’s say a race has 3 places as standard for each-way and place betting. Some brands will let you increase the number of places, to say 4, 5 or 6 in exchange for lower odds. Indeed, you can reduce the number of places with some in exchange for higher odds.
This can be useful if say you fancy a horse at long odds to do better than people think it will but you still don’t think it is good enough to get into the standard places. Backing it with a site that allows you to set your own places can be advantageous in this scenario.
Free Prediction Games
If you are choosing between two very similar sites for betting on horse racing then one thing that might sway your decision is whether they offer free games with cash or free bet prizes?
It has become popular these days for sites to have free prediction games where you pick the winner, or a horse to place, in 5, 6 or 7 featured races in a day. Get them all right, or the highest number right, and you can win prizes.
These games are very hard to win so it is not worth choosing a site just to play them but if there is not much in it they can be fun and there is also the chance you could win a prize, even tens of thousands in some cases.
Foreign Horse Racing
If you like to bet on racing in the US, in the middle east, Hong Kong and Asia, Australia, South Africa, France and Europe and other places then do not assume any old site will offer the markets. If you want deep markets for foreign races you need to look for them, especially with new sites.
A lot of sites that are based abroad and operate in multiple markets will cater for foreign racing. You are unlikely to get the same concessions (like BOG) and the odds can be more variable between brands so it is definitely worth comparing sites if betting on racing abroad.
Virtual Horse Racing
First off, virtual horse racing is not horse racing, it is a computer generated game that works on fixed probabilities, very much like an online slot game. They have a set return to player percentage (RTP), which are often terrible. The RTP on a virtual horse racing game can be 80% or lower, a good slot game will be over 95%.
Ultimately the house will always win on average with virtual horse racing and the value to the punter is poor. If you like these games, however, there are some site that really push the boat out with them with clever 3D rendering and realistic sounds and visuals.
You will notice a lot of offers for virtual racing and this is partly because they are profitable to bookies so they want you to play them. It is also because they can act as a cross-over product to get punters into the casino games (where brands make more money). If you like the games you are best off using the offers to at least add back some value but always remember these are driven by software and they are the same as slots under the skin.