Advance Deposit Wagering Explained

Advance Deposit Wagering Explained

Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) is a form of gambling that has become increasingly popular across the United States.

It has grown steadily since first becoming legal in Illinois in 1999 and is now available in at least 30 states.

ADW applies mostly to horse racing in the USA and reflects the growth in interest in wagering on races by bettors who are not at the track themselves.

Image: ‘Horserace 520133030’ is licensed under Wikimedia Commons

What is Advance Deposit Wagering and how does it work?

Advance Deposit Wagering is best defined in a general sense as a form of gambling in which the bettor must fund an account before being allowed to place bets.

That means you cannot place a wager on a race or event if you do not have sufficient money in your account to cover your stake.

It is most usually specifically applied to off-track betting on horse racing and greyhounds, but it can be used for casino wagering too.

ADW strikes a contrast with the traditional credit-based form of betting in territories such as the UK.

In decades gone by, your bookmaker would extend a line of credit, allow you to bet and you would settle up any overall loss at the end of the month.

It is still possible to open credit accounts. But most global sportsbooks now insist that you put your money in place before you can strike a bet.

In that sense, ADW is in line with a global trend. But it is a term specifically applied to its usage in the USA.


Where is it used?

Illinois and six other states – Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania – were the first areas to allow ADW just before the turn of the century.

Since then they have been joined by several others and it is now available in 30 states. Some states even receive a share of the revenue from the action generated by ADW.

However, it is always worth checking the legality of ADW in the jurisdiction where you are located.

Several betting operators are specifically defined as ADW exchanges. They include TVG Network,, and


Image: ‘Horse racing’ by Flickr/Paul is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What are the advantages of ADW?

The main positive for a bettor is that you can keep a precise track on how much you are staking.

The fact that you need to put your money down before staking it means you can’t run up a big debt on credit and be hit with a nasty surprise somewhere down the line.

It’s also an efficient way of betting on horse racing when you’re not at the track, or even in the state where the race is taking place.

Meanwhile, a company that offers bets with ADW does not face the risk of clients running up debts and being unable to pay them.

In a general sense, this creates a new revenue channel for the betting operator and, indirectly, the sport of racing.


What are the disadvantages?

The fact that you are unable to have an impulse bet could be seen as a positive or a negative.

Sometimes you see a horse you fancy, or noticed in a previous race and meant to wager on when it next ran, and realize you have only minutes before the race is off.

The requirement to have funds in place with the betting operator before you can wager can mean you don’t get the bet on in time.

However, on the flip side, ADW means you are less likely to bet impulsively and illogically, which should limit your losses in the long term.

While ADW increases off-track interest in racing and engagement in the sport, the sport pays a price.

Racing gets a smaller percentage from a dollar waged through ADW – about three or four cents – compared to about 12 cents if that dollar is staked through an on-track betting terminal.

It’s estimated that 35-40% of betting on US racing is now through ADW. And Michele Fisher, vice-president of Sportech, has said that proportion is only going to move upwards and could soon be as high as 75%.