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Derby is an electronic horse racing game. One to 10 players sit around a racetrack as they watch 5 horses compete in race after race. With a bet as little as 25 cents and about 90 seconds between races this can definitely be a decent time killer — if you can find one. The number of games out there is decreasing fast. It is only a matter of time before the game is completely extinct.

Picture courtesy of L.A. Slot Machine Company


The only betting option is the quinella, which is betting on the first and second place horses in either order. With 5 horses there are 10 possible combinations of the first 2, without regard to order.

At the close of one race the odds for the next race will be posted, which are on a "for one" basis. In other words the player doesn't get his original bet back. For example, the board may display the odds as follows, taken from a typical race at the Flamingo in Laughlin.

Typical Pay Table in Derby

Quinella Pays
1,2 5
1,3 39
1,4 200
1,5 19
2,3 4
2,4 20
2,5 2
3,4 160
3,5 15
4,5 79

Derby game at the D in Las Vegas

The player may bet from 1 to 20 quarters on each quinella. The smallest payoff is 2 for 1 and the largest is200 for 1, although not all races offer either of these. I have seen winnings both paid immediately and added to the player's credits.

House Edge

The following table shows the average house edge based on actual observations at various casinos. Unless otherwise noted each casino is in Las Vegas.

House Edge in Derby

Casino House Edge
Hilton 10.13%
Orleans 11.90%
MGM Grand 12.19%
New York New York 12.37%
Caesars Palace 14.90%
Imperial Palace 14.95%
Riviera 14.97%
Ballys 15.02%
Excalibur 15.09%
Luxor 15.32%
Frontier 20.14%
D 20.16%

Note that the returns in the table above tend to fall in clusters. For example, Caesars Palace, Imperial Palace, Ballys, Excalibur, Flamingo Laughlin, and the Luxor are all in a tight range. I believe all these machines are set to the same long term return and race to race variation accounts for the small variation.

The house edge is calculated assuming each bet carries the same house edge. For more information on this method of calculation please see my futures in sports section.


  • MGM Grand, Las Vegas — Near the sports book.
  • D, Las Vegas; Upstairs, near the sports book.

Please do not write and tell me the MontBleu in South Lake Tahoe has two games. They got rid of them sometime in late 2015.

Derby game at the D in Las Vegas