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United States Pari-mutuel
Pari-Mutuel Betting in the USA
There are three forms of pari-mutuel betting in the USA: horse racing, greyhound racing and jai alai. Pair-mutuel betting should not be confused with fixed-odds betting. A pari-mutuel wager is one that combines all wagers into one pool, where the winners split the overall prize. The amount awarded to each winner depends upon how many wagers are made and how many winners come out on top.
Pari-mutuel betting comes in several categories, or types of bets, with each type going into it's own wagering pool. The types are as follows: Bet to Win, Bet to Place, Bet to Show, Exacta, Quinella and Trifecta. All Bets to Win are placed in their own pool, while Bets to Place go into a separate pool, and so on for each betting type.
The first the pari-mutuel betting types, Win, Place and Show, are the most common pari-mutuel wagers. A Bet to Win is a bet that the horse or greyhound of your choosing will take first place. A Bet to Place is that your chosen competitor will take first or second place. A Bet to Show is that your chosen competitor will take first, second or third. Obviously the payouts are likely to scale down respectively, as a Bet to Win is a much farther stretch than a Bet to Show.
The last three pari-mutuel wager are known as "Exotics", as they are much more difficult to win, but offer very high payouts. An Exacta bet is a wager that chooses to competitors to come in first and second in an exact order. Quinella is the same type of pari-mutuel bet, choosing the two top finishers, but they do not have to be in perfect order. Trifecta is by far the most difficult wager to win, as the bettor must pick the exact order of the first, second and third place winners.
The idea of pari-mutuel betting was fist envisioned by a French perfume shop owner, Pierre Oller in 1865. By 1887, pari-mutuel betting was a legitimate form of horse race wagering in France. In 19927, Sir Winston Churchill suggested the United States initiate pari-mutuel wagering at their race tracks, and it was right around that time that the USA did just that - thus legal pari-mutuel betting on horse racing was born in America.
Currently 43 states have legalized pari-mutuel wagering. Horse racing is legal in all 43 states, though not all offer greyhound wagering or bets on Jai Alai. These 43 states include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
That leaves only 7 states in the US who do not currently offer legal pari-mutuel wagers. These 7 states include: Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah.
The federal government regulates Interstate pari-mutuel betting. This is when a bettor from one states places a wager in another state by way of electronic communication (phone, Internet, etc.), known as 'remote betting', rather than in person. By US law, Interstate pari-mutuel horse race wagering is absolutely legal provided that pari-mutuel wagering is legal in both states. Most forms of Interstate gambling are illegal, but due to the Interstate Horse racing Act of 1978, this type of wagering is allowed on pari-mutuel horse racing.
Jai Alai is only found in the state of Florida. Since the early 1900's several states have seen their share of Jai Alai Frontons (stadiums) built and utilized, but only those in Florida remain to date. Frontons in Florida include Dania Jai Alai, Ft. Pierce Jai Alai, Hamilton Downs Jai Alai, Miami Jai-alai, Ocala Jai Alai and Orlando Jai Alai. Big Bend Jai Alai, previously operating in Quincy Florida from 1978 to 1990, is reportedly set to re-open their Fronton in September of 2008.
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