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Michigan Begins Accepting Online Horse Racing Wagers

Ron Fritz for Bookies.com

Ron Fritz  | 3 mins

Michigan Begins Accepting Online Horse Racing Wagers

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Northville Downs, the only horse racing track in Michigan, can now conduct advance deposit wagering under an order from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

On its website, Northville Downs, a harness racing track about 30 miles west of Detroit, announced that “wagering online on horse racing is now available,” and provides a link to third-party facilitator TVG Network.

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MGCB executive director Richard S. Kalm issued the order Friday along with a second order granting a conditional 30-day license to TVG.

Mary Kay Bean, spokeswoman for the MGCB, said in an email Wednesday that wagers on pari-mutuel races can be placed as soon as TVG begins accepting bets through online or mobile devices in Michigan on simulcast races from other venues.

Northville Downs remains closed by the state but wagers can be placed on live races at the track once it is deemed safe to reopen the track under the “MI Safe Start Plan,” Bean added.

Advance Deposit Wagering Order

On May 5, Kalm issued an order permitting third-party facilitators to acquire a license and offer advance deposit wagering.

The state's Horse Racing Law of 1995 was amended in December 2019 to allow bettors to create an account with a third-party facilitator and use a mobile device or computer to place bets online.

TVG is the first applicant to be approved. It’s a temporary license and “full licensure depends on TVG meeting the terms, conditions and suitability standards contained in the Michigan Horse Racing Act and the licensing order,” Bean said.

Although the Triple Crown schedule changed because of the coronavirus and the Belmont Stakes has already run, Michigan bettors still have the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 and the Preakness on Oct. 3.

More Michigan Online Betting Could Be Available

A partnership deal between DraftKings and Bay Mills Resort & Casino, announced in early June, showed how Michigan is trying to fast track online sports betting. It hopes to take bets by the end of the year and the Gaming Control Board began accepting online gaming supplier licensing forms in mid-May.

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The state is also looking to get online slots, table games and poker operational sooner than expected. Michigan would be joining other states that offer some type of online casino gambling — New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Michigan took its first retail sports bets at the three Detroit commercial casinos March 11-12, but all had to close soon after as the state and sports world were shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. No reopening date for the Detroit casinos has been announced by the state, but tribal casinos have reopened.

About the Author

Ron Fritz is a former editor at Bookies.com.