Virginia is one of the more perplexing states when it comes to horse racing and wagering. Although the state has a racing and breeding history that goes back to the 1700s (the great Secretariat was a Virginia-bred colt), there is no live racing since the closure of Colonial Downs in 2015. At that time, 10 OTB locations were also closed, although it appears as of 2017 there are at least a couple new OTB sites in operation.
Virginia Off Track Betting Sites
Since there's no live racing and very limited opportunity to bet at an OTB, Virginia horseplayers are best served with an online racebook account. All the best online betting sites offer a low initial deposit requirement and a first-deposit bonus, as well as daily or weekly cash back on all internet wagers whether your horse wins or loses.
One of the best aspects about betting the horses with an online racebook as opposed to going to the track - outside of the obvious convenience of betting from home - is the fact online racebooks give a daily or weekly cash back rebate even on losing bets.
The rebate program at BetOnline is one of the better ones, due to the fact they give back a flat 7% every day on all bet types, be they straight Win, Place or Show wagers, or exotic bets such as exactas, trifectas or Daily Doubles. This is different from many racebooks that offer one percentage on exotics, and a lower percentage on straight wagers.
Virginia Horse Race Tracks
Pari-mutual wagering was only made legal in the state of Virginia in 1988 and the state's one and only race track, Colonial Downs, opened in 1997. Colonial was a duel-use track for both thoroughbreds and harness racing, but a dispute between the track's ownership and Virginia horse owners led to the ending of thoroughbred racing in 2013 and harness racing in 2015. The track still stands, but the future of live racing in Virginia is up in the air.
OTB Locations in Virginia
Ponies & Pints
Ponies & Pints is a full-service restaurant in downtown Richmond. The OTB facility is open seven days-per-week from noon to 11 PM, and offers wagering on up to 20 thoroughbred and harness tracks from around the United States.
- 110 North 18th Street
- Richmond VA 23223
Breakers Sports Grille
Breakers is a full-service sports bar with an OTB in operation from noon to 11 PM every day of the week. Both Ponies & Pints and Breakers OTBs are operated in conjunction with the Virginia Equine Alliance, a non-profit organization that promotes horse racing in the state.
- 9127 West Broad Street
- Henrico VA 23294