Long before legal sports betting began to be rolled out around the United States, the legitimate way to bet in dozens of states was on horse racing. Today, this means that a number of high-quality betting apps serve players from various states around the US – and three of them stand out above all others.
TwinSpires, BetAmerica, and TVG are by far the most popular horse racing sites in the US, and with each of them jostling for their market share choosing which one to use can be tricky.
Each of the three share plenty in common, and in truth, any one of them would make a great option for horse race betting.
But there are lots of differences too, from how the software feels to the bonuses on offer for new players, to the types of bets and tracks available to bet on, and much more. Overall, there’s a lot to learn about each site and a lot that helps each one stand out in its own way.
If you love horse racing but don’t know which site to choose, consider this page your form guide.
Our detailed guide compares and contrasts TwinSpires, BetAmerica, and TVG to give you a feel for what makes each site unique. We look at all the most important factors, including:
You can also read full reviews of each of the sites individually if you want to go in-depth on just one:
However if you want to see how they all stack up against each other, or if you have no idea where to start and want to get an overall sense of the three biggest names in horse racing, you’re on the right page.
Horse racing has been a part of the fabric of society in the United States for centuries, and many of the top tracks in the country are well over a hundred years old. Betting on horses was exempt from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that banned all other forms of sports betting in 1992.
Over the course of the 21 century, betting on horse racing became more and more sophisticated. The top sites created mobile apps that allowed their users to bet on the go. Modern technology enabled the live streaming of races to be hosted directly on the sites.
Betting on horse racing has undergone a transformation, and TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica have been at its forefront.
TVG was founded back in 1999 as a cable television network dedicated to horse racing. Viewers could call in and place their bets over the phone, before watching the races play out in real-time.
The network’s betting website – along with a partnership with Churchill Downs Ltd, the company behind the iconic Churchill Downs racetrack – made betting at home even easier, as Americans began to embrace online betting.
TVG even operated a free betting site in states which outlawed betting on horse racing, which allowed fans to “bet” on races using free money.
TVGs affiliation with Churchill Downs came to an end in 2007, before being sold to the milton-national betting giant Flutter Entertainment in 2008. Flutter went about consolidating its position by purchasing competitors including HRTV and absorbing them into the TVG package.
Today, you can use the TVG site or app to bet on over 150 different tracks.
It was that split between TVG and Churchill Downs Limited in 2007 that led to the creation of what would soon become the sites biggest rival: TwinSpires.
TwinSpires was created as the first official betting site for Churchill Downs, designed to help the long-established betting company make the transition into the online world. The site’s popularity grew, and Churchill Downs Limited continued to expand its operations by purchasing other racetracks and gambling sites.
One of these was BetAmerica, acquired in 2017 and operated entirely separately to TVG.
In contrast to both TVG and TwinSpites, BetAmerica offers a variety of other gambling services in addition to betting on horse racing. There is a BetAmerica sportsbook that offers betting on sports, slots, and other online casino games, video poker, and more.
This combination of services makes BetAmerica rather more like a modern multi-faceted betting company – in the mold of DraftKings, FanDuel, or Caesars Sportsbook– albeit one with a particular focus on horse racing.
|Owners||Flutter Entertainment (FanDuel Group)||Churchill Downs Limited||Churchill Downs Limited|
|Headquarters||Hillsboro, Oregon||Lexington, Kentucky||Lexington, Kentucky|
|Number of Tracks||~150||~150||~250|
|Live Chat Support||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Other Sports Betting||No||No||Yes|
Betting on horse racing is legal in the majority of US states, with most of them also allowing online wagering. However, there are exceptions.
As with other types of gambling in the US, horse racing is largely under the jurisdiction of state laws – meaning each state can determine whether betting on horses is legal and what form it should take. This also means that states are free to outlaw the practice, which some have chosen to do.
Unlike regular sports betting, which was federally outlawed from 1992-2018 in every single US state apart from Nevada, horse racing has consistently remained an active part of US life for centuries.
Modern horse racing is still largely governed by the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978, which allowed tracks to broadcast their races to other states and accept bets from residents there, as long as racing is legal in each state. This can be seen as a proto-version of what modern horse racing apps like TVG, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires do: connecting people and letting them bet on races from the US and around the world, no matter where they are.
Since the removal of PASPA in May 2018, attitudes to gambling around the US have been slowly changing. As more states liberalize their gambling laws, sports betting and gambling on horses and dogs are becoming increasingly accepted as part of everyday life for lots of people.
Given this, it’s likely that horse racing betting apps will become even more widely available over time.
While generally speaking the three sites have similar availability across the US, there are exceptions. BetAmerica for example is not currently available in Arizona, even though the others are. On the other hand, it is currently the only one of the three accepting customers in Maine.
Making sure you can legally play from your home state is the first step to choosing which platform to use. Below you can see the full availability of each site in every US state.
|TVG Available||TwinSpires available||BetAmerica available|
Each of the three sites offers betting on tracks both in the US and from around the world. TVG and TwinSpires both advertise as hosting over 150 different tracks, while BetAmerica advertises 250.
There are largely similar betting options at all three sites. When you place a bet, it is directly linked to the pari-mutuel pools at the track, meaning you have access to all the same markets on the site as if you were there at the track.
Each of the three sites has the following types of bets:
For the most part, the experience of placing all of the above bets is similar at each site.
Each of the three also has its own versions of user guides, handicapping options (both free and paid services), form guides, news, calendars and results, live streaming, and more.
You can also bet on greyhound racing on TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica.
These are the similarities, but we want to use this section to dig into the areas that make each of the three stands out. Below, we’ve got the lowdown on what makes each of these sites unique.
TVG originally started as a horse racing broadcaster back in 1999, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that its streaming services are extremely impressive. As well as live feeds and highlights from the majority of TVG tracks (such as Monmouth Park), the site also has two dedicated channels – TVG and TVG2.
The content includes not only live races but analysis, background, handicapping shows, and more. TVG’s streaming services are also fully available via the mobile app, and the channels can be connected to Apple devices, or watched on your TV via Amazon. In fact, those who don’t have TVG accounts can even sign up for the service independently at a cost of $9.99 per month.
TVG has a blog, updated very regularly, with various articles that range from news and features on horse and tracks to picks for upcoming races. There is also a TVG podcast to keep you up to date on all the latest news from the world of horse racing, published wherever you normally get your podcasts.
All of this makes broadcasting and streaming the site’s strongest point. Rather than purely a platform for betting, TVG has successfully styled itself as the best place to go simply to stay on top of the latest horse racing news, for interesting content as well as placing your bets.
Although all of the sites have some kind of form guides, TVG’s is especially strong. The site employs statistical modeling to predict the future performance of horses, which informs the handicapping services hosted on TVG.
There more basic stats and form guides are free, but you’ll have to pay for the advanced information.
TwinSpires is similarly detailed to TVG, with lots of quirks and special features beyond the standard betting options. The love of horse racing and the willingness to go in-depth is really in evidence across the site.
Check out the special pages on iconic races like the Kentucky Derby, Breeders Cup, or the Belmont Stakes, featuring info, highlights, and famous horses from over the years. TwinSpires has even produced a full-color magazine – downloadable from the site in PDF form – on past Triple Crown winners.
It’s the perfect place to go for a history lesson, as told by people with a genuine passion for the sport.
The streaming at TwinSpires is versatile and can be accessed by hitting the “Bet Now” button. While you can watch the races live as they happen in full screen, there is also an option to minimize the video and pin it, so that you can continue browsing the site while keeping one eye on the action.
The Google Maps track feature is great, where you can see all the tracks pinned on a map. Click on one to see details of upcoming meets, and zoom in to a satellite image of the track itself.
The site has also done a good job of getting creative with bets. The “BetShare” feature at TwinSpires is an interesting concept and one which helps it stand out from the other two sites. Basically, the feature enables you to place bets with your friends who also have TwinSpires accounts.
You can split up the action any way you want so you all win together. It’s a more social way of gambling, almost like something from a social media site.
TwinSpires’ handicapping options are also excellent, with a good mix of free picks and paid services.
Unlike TVG and TwinSpires, BetAmerica is so much more than just an online horse racing site. Instead, the company has designs on being a one-stop-shop for all online gambling, from sports betting to casino games.
Since it shares an owner with TwinSpires, it’s not hard to guess that BetAmerica has been designed to capture a somewhat wider market, while TwinSpires focuses exclusively on horse racing.
Although your BetAmerica horse racing account doesn’t give you instant access to the sportsbook and casino games – you need to sign up separately due to the various legal situations in different states – it’s still incredibly convenient to have so many services under one umbrella.
The sportsbook and casino games are all designed similarly to the racebook too and have similar banking options (where possible).
In truth, the racing betting at BetAmerica is probably marginally less well developed than the other sites, but it’s a more than acceptable payoff if you want to combine your horse betting with other types of gambling, and don’t feel like signing up for a variety of disparate sites.
BetAmerica is very beginner-friendly. Placing bets is easy and you are less likely to be overwhelmed by information. There are also fun new betting variations – like the handicapping tournaments that let you compete against other bettors.
Bonuses – and in particular welcome bonuses – are a big consideration when choosing to sign up with a betting site, whether a racebook or a sportsbook. All of TwinSpires, BetAmerica, and TVG have special bonuses for new members, as well as various degrees of on-running promotions.
For some of the promotions, a bonus code or promo code will be required to unlock them, but lots are just credited to your account automatically.
In this section, we’re taking a look at the various bonuses you can expect from each of the three sites, and which type of bettor will benefit most from each.
Kicking off with TVG, there is a deposit bonus worth up to $250 waiting for new players. All you need to do is sign up and make your first deposit, and you’ll be credited with wagering credits worth 50% of your deposit.
That means to get the maximum $250 value, you would need to deposit $500. The minimum you can deposit to claim the bonus is $50.
The good thing about this bonus is that the credits don’t really come with any hidden terms and conditions, or restrictive wagering requirements. Once you bet them and win, the winnings are yours to keep.
It’s a good offer. $250 is a healthy upper limit, and even if you don’t want to deposit that much upfront, the bonus credits are going to be welcome no matter how much they’re worth.
TVG has great on-running promotions too.
Often they will be topical – something like your money back if your pick finishes second at an upcoming meet or enhanced odds on multi-bets. You’re guaranteed to have some promotions like this for the biggest races of the year.
Then there are offers that TVG just creates to keep players engaged, regardless of upcoming races. Things like reload bonuses on a specific day, pick insurance, or even free play events where you can win real money.
TwinSpires offers aren’t a million miles away from TVG. Again there is a good mix of on-running promotions, plus a sign-up bonus for new members.
In this case, the welcome bonus is worth up to $200 and the format is a little different.
Rather than being based on your first deposit, you unlock bonus cash the more you bet over the first 30 days of creating an account. The bonus arrives in two $100 increments every time you bet $400 – meaning you need to gamble at least $400 to receive any kind of bonus, and only gambling $800 will unlock the full value.
Once you receive your bonus cash, you just need to bet it and you get to keep the winnings.
For the most part, we prefer TVG’s bonus structure. There is an argument that if you aren’t in a position to make a larger deposit upfront but do intend to bet regularly over a month that TwinSpires might work out more valuable – but this would certainly be for the minority of players.
TwinSpires does have excellent topical promotions depending on what races are next on the calendar. There are also features like Trifecta Thursday, which gives you a boost of 15% on every winning Trifecta placed on a Thursday.
Generally, the on-running promotions are not quite as extensive as those at TVG, but still very good.
Get your $200 sign-up bonus by using the promo code “BET200”. Sign-up with TwinSpires here.
Perhaps unsurprisingly since BetAmerica is also owned by CDL, the owners of TwinsSpires, the bonuses are similar at both sites.
In fact, the welcome bonus for new members is the same: a maximum of $200 up for grabs, released in $100 increments over the first 30 days. Again, you’ll need to bet $800 of your own money in that time to get the maximum benefit.
In longevity terms, BetAmerica in its current form is the youngest of the three sites, having been purchased by Churchill Downs Limited in 2017. This is occasionally in evidence in different forms of the platform.
While BetAmerica’s welcome bonus is the same as TwinSpires, its other promotions have not quite reached the same level just yet.
There are intermittent offers, but on-running promotions is the one area that BetAmerica can look to catch up on its competitors in.
However, BetAmerica is the only one of the three with sister sports betting and casino sites, which come with a whole host of bonuses of their own. If these other types of gambling appeal to you, BetAmerica has bonuses up your street.
All of the three also have their own versions of loyalty or VIP programs.
They all function in largely the same way: the more you bet the more loyalty points you earn, which can be traded in for various rewards or benefits. As is often the case with rewards programs, in each case their value is generally weighted in favor of higher frequency and high-limit players.
|Max welcome bonus||$250||$200||$200|
|The amount you need to spend to earn maximum||$500||$800||$800|
|Refer a friend bonus||Yes||Yes||Yes|
TwinSpires and TVG’s sites have a similar structure. A menu bar at the top of the homepage contains a variety of links to different sections of the site. At TVG, there is also the “Watch TVG” button, which redirects you to the TVG streaming platform.
BetAmerica’s page structure is similar too, but the site overall is a little more streamlined; with fewer options in the main menu compared with either TVG or TwinSpires.
At every site, the majority of the page is taken up with info about the races, which are divided up into different sections. If you select a bet, it gets added to your bet slip. At TVG, the BetSlip is hidden but pops up when you make a selection, while at the other two sites it is fixed on the right-hand side of the screen.
Of the three, TVG’s software probably feels like the most sophisticated, followed closely by TwinSpires. Both sites are easy to navigate around, and the information is clearly presented. BetAmerica’s site is solid too but overall feels a little less slick than the other two. Some sections of the site are strangely underpopulated for example as if half-finished.
Each of the three has its own mobile app, and they all work well.
The structure and usability of the apps generally follows the desktop sites, with all the information neatly packaged on the small screen using hidden menus and touch screen technology.
Practically anything you can do on the desktop site you can also do on the apps, including live streaming.
The BetAmerica app is currently available for iOS divides only, but the site is also optimized for access via mobile browser so it’s still easy to play with an Android device.
|TVG App||TwinSpires App||BetAmerica App|
No matter which of the three you choose, the sign-up process is largely the same.
You can hit the “Join Now” (or “Sign Up” as it appears on TVG) button on the homepage to get started. TVG just has one page of information to fill out, while TwinSpires and BetAmerica are split into three separate sections.
For each site, you’ll need to provide the following information:
If necessary after all that, you may need to provide four digits from your SSN, which is used to verify your identity.
Each registration process also contains a space for you to type in a bonus code, which can be used to unlock a welcome bonus.
Overall, signing up is fast and easy regardless of which of the three you choose.
For any service that you are trusting with your own money, safe and convenient banking options are hugely important.
Lots of bettors are only in a position to use one specific banking method, so for them finding a racebook that accepts that method is a deal-breaker.
Of the three sites, TwinSpires has the most deposit options, with TVG marginally behind. BetAmerica has a good selection of options, but fewer than the other two sites.
Conversely, TVG has marginally more options for withdrawals than TwinSpires, including the ability to withdraw via VISA debit cards, which isn’t especially common.
Below you can see all the supported payment types, for both deposits and withdrawals, for TwinSpires, BetAmerica, and TVG.
As you can see, fees attached to the different methods vary, but free deposits and withdrawals are available at every site.
Processing times also vary depending on the method. Most deposits are processed instantly, while the fastest withdrawal methods tend to be ACH transfers or via PayPal, normally within 24 hours.
|TVG Deposit (fee)||TVG Withdrawals (fee)||TwinSpires Deposit (fee)||TwinSpires Withdrawal (fee)||BetAmerica Deposit (fee)||BetAmerica Withdrawal (fee)|
|ACH / eCheck||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||✓ (free)|
|Online Bill Pay||–||–||✓ (free)||–||–||–|
|Debit/Credit Card||✓ ($5)||✓ (free)||✓ ($5)||–||✓ ($5)||–|
|Prepaid Card||✓ ($5)||✓ (variable)||–||–||–||–|
|Green Dot MoneyPak||✓ (4.95)||–||✓ (4.95)||–||–||–|
|Moneygram||–||–||✓ ($3.95)||–||✓ ($3.95)||–|
|PayNearMe||✓ ($3.99)||–||✓ ($3.99)||–||✓ ($3.99)||–|
|PayPal||✓ ($5)||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||✓ ($5)||✓ ($1)|
|Wire Transfer||✓ ($15)||✓ ($15)||✓ ($10)||–||–||–|
|In-person||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||–||–||–|
|Money Order / Check||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||✓ (free)||–||✓ (free)|
Each of the three sites brings a lot to the table, and the truth is the best one to choose really all depends on the bettor.
Everyone is different, and each site has different USPs – whether it’s a concrete thing like the ability to withdraw using a preferred banking method, or something more intangible, like the feeling of the software or mobile app.
If you’re in a position to do so, we have no problems recommending testing out each site yourself and experimenting until you decide which one you like the best.
But who has the time for that?
If you’re here for a shortcut, look no further. We asked our experts to create their best pitches for each of TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica. Here’s what they came up with.
TVG is the betting site for true horse racing fanatics. In fact, thanks to the company’s various broadcasting services, it’s so much more than just a betting site.
Instead, TVG brings a holistic approach to horse racing, combining the ability to bet with an all-purpose site featuring live streams, chat shows, handicapping, guides, blogs, analysis and more. While the other two sites also provide the above to varying degrees, neither of them do to the extent of TVG.
The company’s background in broadcasting is plain to see: this is not a betting site that has hastily adopted streaming technology. Rather, it’s a slick and sophisticated media company that combines betting with broadcasting. Look no further than it’s two dedicated channels, which can even be accessed via Smart TVs.
That’s not to say that the racebook is neglected – quite the contrary. TVG’s software is first class. Bets are easy to place, and the additional information provided for every track and meet is excellent.
TVG currently has (in our opinion) the most valuable welcome bonus of the three, and also the largest number of on-running promotions when your experts checked it out. The ability to both download and withdraw via Visa debit card is a great feature, and one which is very rare among gambling sites of any description.
If you want a site that covers just about everything and comes fully loaded with high-quality streaming shows and expert opinion, TVG is your site.
TwinSpires is every bit the equal of TVG in terms of betting options and comes fully loaded with a host of design features that make the site very easy and fun to use – from the ability to pin a live stream while you browse to the Google Map which displays all the tracks hosted on the site.
We love the historical content TwinSpires, about past horses and famous races at iconic tracks. It creates a welcoming atmosphere, of inviting new players into the world of horse racing where they can learn and participate at the same time.
Novel ways to bet, like BetShare which lets you split up bets with your friends, also reinforces the sense of fun and creativity.
TwinSpires has the most deposit options, including payment methods that neither of the other two sites accepts like Online Bill Pay and Moneygram. The on-running promotions are excellent – valuable, creative, and plentiful.
Overall, this is a betting site with no weaknesses: modern, usable software, tons of betting options, great bonuses and banking, and a love for horse racing in evidence at every turn.
BetAmerica is the first choice for gambling fans who want to dip their toe into the world of horse racing. Unlike either TVG or TwinSpires, BetAmerica combines horse racing with general sports betting, casino games, and even internet poker.
The advantage of using just one site for basically all your online gambling needs is significant. Whether you’re an NFL fan who fancies an occasional bet on the Kentucky Derby, or a racing fanatic who wants to bet on the Super Bowl, BetAmerica is the perfect site for you.
While not as minutely detailed as TVG or TwinSpires, BetAmerica is easy to use and places a premium on the fun. That’s not to say the site is lacking in additional data or special features – you can still access in-depth info on all upcoming meets, and stream live races right on the site.
BetAmerica’s handicapping tournaments, which let bettors pay a fixed fee to play against other competitors in selected upcoming meets, are a great feature – more like something from Daily Fantasy Sports than a traditional racebook.
In modern online gambling, which can feel like something of a Wild West at times, convenience and familiarity are a priority for everyone and BetAmerica provides a lot of features in one. While TVG and TwinSpires are more like specialists, designed for experienced horse racing bettors, BetAmerica is a generalist.
Perfect for beginners, BetAmerica is a modern, versatile betting platform that makes it just as easy to bet on the ponies as on the Pacers, Penguins, or the Patriots.
Horse racing in the US is being swept up in the sports betting boom that has gripped the country since 2018. If you don’t want to get left behind, signing up with one of TwinSpres, BetAmerica or TVG is the way to go.
Hopefully, by now one of the three is screaming out at you as the logical choice. If so, don’t forget to check out our full review for even more info, as well as a sign-up link that will unlock your welcome bonus.
Enjoy weighing up your options, and good luck on the track!
Billy “Krackman” Krackomberger has made his living as a professional sports gambler for nearly three decades. You have seen him on ESPN, Gaming Today, and SiriusXM. His connections in the sports gambling industry run all the way to the top. His bets move the lines and regularly have him banned from books for being too sharp. Email: [email protected]More info on Bill Krackomberger
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