Michigan Race Tracks: Where to Bet on Horse Races in MI

Learn about Michigan's race tracks and legal horse race betting options

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The US gambling laws by state vary, but you’ll be pleased to know that live Michigan horse racing and pari mutuel wagering are legal in the state, albeit limited to just one racetrack. This article will guide you through Michigan’s land-based race track betting landscape.

Most Popular Michigan Race Tracks

Northville Downs

Address: 310 S Center Street, Northville, MI 48167
Phone: 248-349-1000

Northville Downs, the only active horse racetrack in Michigan, is a mecca for horse racing enthusiasts. Spanning a sprawling 48 acres, it hosts live harness racing every Friday and Saturday from April through September. You’ll be spoilt for choice with betting options that include Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Daily Double, Across the Board, and more.

Northville Downs

For just a $5 entrance fee, you can also partake in simulcast and off-track betting, making it the only venue in the state to offer such a feature. To top off your betting experience, dine at the Trotside Restaurant. With seating for 250 guests, it offers a casual dining experience, coupled with a view of live horse racing.

List of All Michigan Race Tracks

Despite the rich history of Michigan horse racing, there is only one active horse racetrack in the state. Here’s all the details:

RacetrackAddressPhone NumberBetting Allowed?
Northville Downs310 S Center Street, Northville, MI 48167248-349-1000Yes

Simulcast Wagering in Michigan

While simulcast wagering is perfectly legal in the state, there’s only one venue that offers this betting option. That venue is none other than Northville Downs, the state’s sole live horse racetrack.

Betting LocationAddress
Northville Downs310 S Center Street, Northville, MI 48167

Popular Horse Races in Michigan with Dates

While Northville Downs may not host many major races, there’s still plenty of action to enjoy through its simulcast wagering facility. The below list outlines the popular races that you can bet on at Northville Downs.

Horse RacesRacing DatesWhere to Bet
Dubai World CupMarchNorthville Downs OTB
Kentucky DerbyMayNorthville Downs OTB
Preakness StakesMayNorthville Downs OTB
Belmont StakesJuneNorthville Downs OTB
Grand NationalAprilNorthville Downs OTB
Cheltenham Gold CupMarchNorthville Downs OTB
Melbourne CupNovemberNorthville Downs OTB
Breeders CupNovemberNorthville Downs OTB

Types of Legal Horse Betting in Michigan

In Michigan, your options for legal pari mutuel betting and horse betting are slightly limited. Northville Downs, the only live horse racing track in the state, hosts exclusively harness racing, offering a thrilling spectacle of speed and strategy.

However, if you’re interested in other race types, don’t be disheartened. Through the simulcast wagering facility at Northville Downs, you can enjoy thoroughbred betting, quarter horse racing, and other types of races. Despite the limited live racing, Michigan still ensures a diverse and engaging horse betting experience.

Other Types of Gambling in Michigan

Read all about Michigan gambling laws and other forms of gambling in the state:

History of Michigan Horse Racing

In 1933, Michigan horse racing betting was legalized, marking the beginning of a regulated industry. Initially, the Michigan Office of the Racing Commissioner (ORC) was in charge of racing, but in 2009, the governor abolished the ORC and transferred all duties to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).

In 2005, Michigan Racing, a subsidiary of Magna Entertainment Corp, was granted a license to build and operate a racetrack. However, Magna relinquished its license in 2007 and abandoned its plans for the Michigan Downs track. The following year, a horse racing lobby filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that casino and state lotteries were harming the industry and that laws prohibiting slot machines at Michigan race tracks violated the US Constitution.

Despite these efforts, in 2009, a federal judge rejected a bid to overturn a statewide ballot that prevented Michigan race tracks from installing slot machines. In 2012, the industry attempted to introduce electronic games at horse tracks again with HB5546, but the bill was not signed by Gov. Rick Snyder due to constitutional concerns.

In recent years, the industry has experienced a decline, leading to a diminishing racetrack industry in the state. Today, Michigan has only one standalone horse racetrack. Despite this, in 2016, the MGCB implemented advance deposit wagering, allowing you to place bets from the comfort of your home. While the live racing opportunities are limited, Michigan’s horse racing industry continues to adapt and evolve.

In 2018, the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) had implications for the Michigan horse racing industry. The ruling opened up possibilities for states to legalize sports betting and this presented an opportunity for the industry to potentially attract new bettors and increase revenue.

Michigan Gambling FAQ

Is Michigan horse racing legal?

Yes, horse racing is legal in Michigan. The state legalized horse racing betting in 1933, and since then, it has been regulated by various state entities. Currently, the Michigan Gaming Control Board oversees all horse racing activities in the state.

Can I bet on horse races in other states?

Yes, you can bet on horse races in other states while in Michigan. You can do this by visiting the Northville Downs, which is a simulcast wagering facility. This means that they broadcast races from other states and countries, allowing you to place bets on those races. Remember to follow responsible wagering practices.

What’s the largest of all Michigan race tracks?

The largest horse race track in Michigan is Northville Downs. It’s not only the largest, but currently, it’s the only operating racetrack in the state. This means that when you’re looking to enjoy some live horse racing action in Michigan, Northville Downs is your go-to destination.

Can I bet on horse races online in Michigan?

Yes, you can bet on horse races online in Michigan. The state has legalized advance deposit wagering, which means you can place your bets from the comfort of your home. You can deposit funds into an account and use those funds to wager on horse races. This makes it easy and convenient for you to participate in horse racing betting.

How can I bet on Michigan horse racing events?

There are several ways you can bet on Michigan horse racing events. You can visit the Northville Downs racetrack and place your bets in person. Alternatively, you can participate in simulcast wagering at Northville Downs, where they broadcast races from other locations and you can place bets on those. Lastly, you can take advantage of advance deposit wagering, which allows you to deposit funds into an account and place your bets online from the comfort of your home.

What’s the minimum age to bet on horses in Michigan?

In Michigan, the minimum age to bet on horse races is 18 years old. So, you must be at least 18 years of age to participate in any form of horse race betting in the state. This applies whether you’re betting at a racetrack, through simulcast wagering, or using advance deposit wagering online.

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