Select milestones in pari-mutuel wagering

 

1863

Saratoga Racecourse opens in New York

1870

Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness, opens in Maryland

1875

Churchill Downs opens and the Kentucky Derby is born

1895

The New York Racing Commission becomes the first U.S. racing regulatory body

1915

The modern Fair Grounds reopens in Louisiana after a seven-year hiatus, on the site originally constructed in 1852

1922

The first greyhound races in the country are held at Hialeah Park by the Miami Kennel Club

1925

Hialeah reopens as a Thoroughbred facility, and Florida’s first jai alai fronton was also part of the new complex
Derby Lane in St. Petersburg is the first dedicated greyhound track in the country, although pari-mutuel wagering is not legalized in Florida until the 1931-32 season

1926

Miami Jai Alai becomes the first professional jai alai fronton in the U.S.

1927

Pari-mutuel wagering is legalized in Illinois

1932

Hialeah reopens after hurricane damage in 1926 and is the first Florida horse track to offer pari-mutuel wagering

1933

Hialeah is the first track to install a totalizator system
California legalizes pari-mutuel wagering
Pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing begins in Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia

1934

Horse racing begins in Rhode Island
Oaklawn Park in Arkansas begins its modern history after an initial start in 1905

1935

Arizona legalizes pari-mutuel wagering on horse and Greyhound racing
Maine and Nebraska legalize pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing
Horse and Greyhound racing begin in Massachusetts

1937

Horse racing begins in Delaware

1942

Freehold Raceway is the first racetrack in New Jersey to offer pari-mutuel wagering

1946

Horse racing begins in New Mexico

1949

Horse and Greyhound racing begin in Colorado

1956

Southland Greyhound Park brings Greyhound racing to Arkansas

1963

Horse racing begins in Idaho, Pennsylvania and Vermont

1967

Horse racing begins in Wyoming

1971

New York launches the first off-track betting system in the U.S.

1973

Greyhound racing begins Alabama and New Hampshire

1976

Greyhound racing, jai alai and off-track betting begin in Connecticut
Vermont’s horse track converts to Greyhound racing
Jai alai begins in Rhode Island
Greyhound racing begins in West Virginia

1977

Greyhound racing begins in Rhode Island when Lincoln Downs converts from horse racing

1978

Last year of horse racing in Rhode Island
Congress passes the Interstate Horseracing Act, paving the way for the industry's reliance on simulcasting

1982

The first U.S. inter-track wagering network begins in Colorado with the state’s Greyhound tracks

1984

Pari-mutuel horse racing begins in Oklahoma

1985

Horse and greyhound racing begin in Iowa
Horse racing begins in Minnesota

1986

Horse racing begins in Missouri

1987

Alabama’s first horse track opens in Birmingham

1988

Greyhound racing begins in Idaho
Horse racing begins in Kansas
Last year of horse racing in Missouri

1989

Greyhound racing begins in Kansas
Pari-mutuel wagering returns to Texas for the first time in more than 50 years when G. Rollie White Downs opens for horse racing

1990

Live horse racing and off-track betting begin in North Dakota
Greyhound racing begins in Texas
Greyhound racing begins in Wisconsin

1991

The first pari-mutuel races are conducted in Virginia at a steeplechase meeting

1992

Last year of Greyhound racing in Vermont

1994

Horse racing begins in Indiana
Last year of Greyhound racing in South Dakota

1995

Last year of horse racing in Alabama
Last year of Greyhound racing in Idaho

1997

Last year of horse racing in Vermont

2000

Oregon becomes a hub for national account wagering services

2001

Last jai alai fronton in Connecticut closes its doors

2003

Last year of jai alai in Rhode Island

2004

Last year of Greyhound racing in Oregon

2005

Last year of Greyhound racing in Connecticut

2008

Last year of Greyhound racing in Colorado

2009

Last year of horse and Greyhound racing in Kansas and New Hampshire
Last year of Greyhound racing in Massachusetts after voters outlaw the sport
Last year of Greyhound racing in Rhode Island and Wisconsin

 

Note: This is not meant to be a comprehensive history of racing in America, but rather a summary of major developments primarily in the modern pari-mutuel era that began in the 1930s. Many jurisdictions had a long history of racing before pari-mutuel wagering was legalized.

 

Last updated on October 10, 2011