Best Horse Racing Betting Sites In Michigan 2023

Horse racing betting has been available in Michigan since the 1930’s. However, only recently, the state agreed to legalize online gambling sites, allowing residents to sign up to sports betting sites and place real money bets. On this page, we’ll be explaining how to start and how to find the best horse race betting sites in MI.

Table of Contents

Overview Of Michigan Horse Racing Sites

MI Horse Racing Facts

In-person pari-mutuel horse race betting has been legal in MI since 1933

Online horse race betting was legalized in the state in December 2019

You need to be at least 21 years old to legally bet on horse racing in MI

The state has a single horse racetrack, Northville Downs

Northville Downs is over 100 years old and offers wagering on simulcast races and multiple races a week for several months a year

The state had many more race tracks until recently, but these have all closed down

You don’t need to be an MI resident to wager on racing here, but you will need to be within the state borders

Harness racing is the most popular form of horse racing in the state



While pari-mutuel betting is the most common type of race odds, you can also find fixed odds races in Michigan.

Top MI Horse Race Betting Sites


Betway is a major brand across Europe, and it has a lot to offer US bettors too. You can sign up to the site within a few minutes and gain access to loads of great odds on racing. Fully licensed in Michigan, Betway has an excellent welcome offer up for grabs and features horse racing from all over the world.

Betway MI Key Facts


Welcome Bonus

$250 risk-free bet


Available on iOS and Android

Main Feature

Wide range of equine racing markets


FanDuel might be better known for fantasy sports, but this platform has become one of the top sportsbooks in the US too. You can download the FanDuel app on your mobile device and discover loads of markets and odds on horse racing from all over the world. There are some excellent bonuses available, and it’s incredibly easy to get started.


FanDuel MI Key Facts


Welcome Bonus

$1000 risk-free bet


App available for iOS and Android

Main Feature

Watch races live as you wager


BetMGM is now one of the biggest online gambling platforms in the US, providing sports betting and online casino gaming. It’s an excellent option if you’re looking to bet on horse racing. The site covers a wider range of events and racetracks around the world. You can find the latest odds on races across the US as well as Australia, France and the UK. The site is easy to use, and it offers some great bonuses too.


BetMGM MI Key Facts


Welcome Bonus

$1000 risk-free bet


Available on iOS and Android devices

Main Feature

Extremely easy to use and mobile app available

The Legal Situation of Horse Racing In Michigan

Michigan horse racing has a lot of history, with almost one hundred years of legal horse race betting in the state. 


  • 1933 – Placing pari-mutuel bets on equine events in MI was first legalized in this year, with people able to place real money wagers when at a racetrack. 
  • 1940 – During this time, many racetracks opened across the state, including Northville Downs.
  • 1995 – The Horse Racing Law of 1995 amended the horse racing law, allowing bettors to place pari-mutuel bets on live and simulcast races across the state. Simulcast races are those taking place at another racetrack, but bettors can watch a live feed and place legal wagers on them.
  • 2004 – The racing industry in MI began to suffer over the years, with land-based casinos taking a lot of customers away. Racetracks tried to add slot machines to their premises to draw people in. However, a constitutional amendment stopped this plan.
  • 2008 – The state closed the Office of the Racing Commissioner, meaning that racing is now regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board instead. 
  • 2019 – MI law is changed to allow gambling in the state at licensed online platforms; That the law was changed to allow online gambling in MI.
  • 2021 – Licensed gambling sites are able to offer online equine betting in MI on live and simulcast racing events held over North America.


You can check if a sportsbook is legal in your state by looking for the Michigan Gaming Control Board licence. This is normally found at the bottom of the homepage if you scroll down. 

Advantages Of Online Betting Compared To Brick-And-Mortar Betting

There are several advantages to betting online compared to in-person. It’s becoming more popular than ever to place horse racing wagers through an online sportsbook or app thanks to these advantages, and these are some of the main ones.





Convenience is perhaps the biggest reason why so many people are choosing to bet online. Rather than travelling to a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, you can simply log into your favorite site and place your wager. Although you do need to sign up, the process only takes a minute at most, and you can then make a deposit and start placing bets. In addition, the vast majority of Michigan sports betting sites also offer a mobile app, allowing you to bet from your phone or tablet. Being able to bet on mobile means you can place wagers from anywhere you like.

More options

If you’re betting in person, your options are limited in MI. There’s now only one racetrack left in the state, and its days could be numbered. With online gambling, you have so many more options to choose from. Not only are there more sportsbooks available, but each sportsbook offers a wider range of racing events for you to wager on. You can find horse races all over the world when betting online, which is much more varied compared to live and simulcast events at a racetrack. In addition, you’ll often encounter more markets online compared to racetrack betting.


Aside from more options and greater convenience, online equine event betting also offers the advantage of bonuses. When you sign up to one of the sportsbooks in Michigan, you can claim a welcome offer. Most sites offer risk-free bets, which allow you to claim a free bet if your first wager loses. This helps make your experience more fun and hopefully more profitable too. Many sportsbooks also provide regular promotions, including odds boosts, free bets, and loyalty rewards to incentivize you to bet more frequently. These offers are all usually straightforward to claim and allow you to bet more while risking less money.


Expert Tip

Before you claim a sportsbook bonus, make sure you read through the full terms and conditions. Some may include rollovers or other terms that make them complicated to use.

Types of Horse Racing Bets

There are many different types of horse racing bets, giving you plenty of options to choose from. Before you start placing wagers on races, it’s a good idea to learn each bet type and understand what they mean. Most racing wagers can be categorized as either standard or exotic. Standard bets are present on all events, while exotic bets are sometimes only featured on bigger races.

Standard Bets

There are three main standard bets: win, place, and show.

Bet Type



This bet is pretty self-explanatory. You simply choose a horse that you think will win the race. Your bet wins if the horse you chose wins, but you lose if it comes in any other place but first.


A place bet gives your horse slightly more leeway in how it performs. For this wager, you’ll win as long as your pick comes in the top two places. If it comes first or second, you’ll win.


Show bets are a bet that the horse you choose will finish in the top three positions at the end of the race. While the payouts are lower than win or place bets, you benefit from reduced risk, as you have more opportunities to win.

In addition, you can also combine these standard bets to improve your chances.

Bet Type


Win Place

This combines a win and place bet into one, meaning that if your horse finishes first, you’ll win both bets, while if it finishes second, you’ll win the place bet but lose the win bet.

Win Show

Combines a win and show wager into one.

Place Show

Combines the place and show bet into one.

Win Place Show

Also known as “across the board”. This combines all three standard bets into one.

Exotic Bets

Exotic bets include multiple horses, sometimes across multiple events. These bets are similar to parlays, where several bets are combined into one to increase the odds. Although the risk is higher, the payouts are too. There are several different types of exotic bets, including but not limited to the following.

Bet Type



A vertical is a bet on the order of which selected horses will finish within a race. The more selections you add, the greater the odds will be.


An exacta bet is a bet on the top two finishing horses. You need to select which ones you think will finish in first and second place. Not only do the horses you choose have to be correct but so does their finishing position.


Like an exacta, you need to correctly predict which order the horses will finish in. For this wager, you’ll need to predict the top three positions, and each one will need to be correct for your bet to win.


A quinella bet is similar to the exacta, only it doesn’t matter which order the horses finish in. Provided the two options you choose finish in the top two positions, you’ll still win your bet. Quinella bets aren’t as common as the exacta but are still popular.


A much more challenging bet but one with very high odds. For this bet, you need to choose which horses will finish in the first four positions, and each position must be predicted correctly.

Super High 5

For this, you’ll need to select which horses will be in the top five positions. You’ll need to choose the right horses, and each one must finish in the right position for your bet to win.


Betting on the winner in two consecutive races.

Pick 3/4/5/6

Betting on the winner in three or more races.

Horse Racing Odds

With equine racing, the odds you’ll find on races are either fixed or pari-mutuel. Historically, pari-mutuel bets was more popular for horse racing as it was the only legal option. However, many sportsbooks now offer fixed odds on races, too, as they’re easier to understand. Before you start getting into races, it’s a good idea to understand what both mean and the differences between them.

Fixed Odds

Fixed odds are much easier to understand, and if you’ve already been gambling on other sports, you’ll probably have a good understanding of them and how they work. When you want to bet on an event with fixed odds, you can examine the odds and work out your potential payout should you win. Once you’ve placed your bet, these odds won’t move, and your payout will always remain the same, provided your bet wins.



Racing odds are either displayed with a decimal number or a fraction. For example, placing a wager on a horse to win might be odds of 3.0 or 2/1. Both mean the same thing, if you bet $10, you’ll make $20 if your selection wins. 
For decimal, simply multiply your wager by the number to get the total amount of money returned. For fractional odds, multiply your wager by the first number and divide by the second to get your potential profit.


Pari-mutuel is very different in that there’s no way to know how much you might win until after the event. When you place a pari-mutuel bet, your stake is added to a pool along with all the other wagers that have been placed on that race. A set percentage is removed to pay the sportsbook, but the rest is then paid out to winners at the end of the race. Rather than going directly against the sportsbook, you bet against other bettors.

The main advantage of fixed odds is that you know how much you’ll win when you place the bet. With pari-mutuel, the odds can shift after you’ve placed your wager, which will change how much you can win. There is an advantage of this, though, as it means it’s possible to make the most of drifting odds if you’re careful.


Expert Tip

Odds will change a lot, which can affect your payout with pari-mutuel betting. You can make the most of this by betting against a heavy favorite to take a bigger share of the profits should you win. 

Where You Can Bet on Horse Racing In Michigan

Northville Downs is the only racetrack available in Michigan and is located around 30 miles west of Detroit. It’s a harness racing track, and it has multiple races each week for several months. You’ll also find simulcast events where you can place pari-mutuel wagers on.

Aside from in-person gambling, you can now bet on equine racing online in MItoo. There are several sites that offer both pari-mutuel and fixed odds on races from all over North America and the rest of the world.


How to Sign Up to a Michigan Betting Site

Once you’ve chosen your sports betting site from the available options, you’ll need to sign up before you can bet. This process normally only takes a few minutes, and it can be done from a computer or a mobile device. Simply follow these steps to set up your account:


  1. Visit the site or download the app and choose the signup option
  2. Fill in your full name, date of birth, and contact details
  3. Agree to the site’s terms and conditions
  4. Upload a copy of your ID to verify your information
  5. Make your first deposit to add funds to your account and start placing wagers

Main Horse Racing Events in MI

Northville Downs is the only horse racetrack currently open in the state, and it is running races each weekend between April and September 2023. You can find the full calendar on the Northville Downs website as well as here.

Aside from races in MI, you can also bet on events around the country, and most sportsbooks also offer international races too. In the US, the Triple Crown races are the biggest events on the calendar, and these normally take place in May and June each year. In addition, the Breeders Cup is another major national event that takes place every fall.

How to Stay Safe While Betting Online

If you’ve chosen to bet online, you’ll need to make sure you’re gambling at a secure and legal sportsbook. It’s also crucial that you bet responsibly and stay safe while having fun. Here are a few tips on doing that.


  • Use our sports gambling site reviews to find the best sportsbooks that are safe and legal
  • Check that the site is licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board before you sign up
  • Ensure you use a secure payment method for deposits and withdrawals
  • Keep your account secure by using a strong password and two-factor authentication if possible
  • Avoid sites which offer bonuses that seem too good to be true
  • Keep a budget and be careful not to exceed it or spend more than you can afford
  • Use responsible gambling tools such as deposit limits if you need to control your spending
  • If you’re finding it hard to manage your gambling, you can sign up for self-exclusion to give yourself a break
  • If you’re unsure about whether a site is legal or not, you can find more information on the Michigan Gaming Control Board website.


Betting on horse racing has been available in Michigan for some time but being able to bet online is a new development. You can now sign up to online sportsbooks on a computer or mobile device and start placing bets on races for real money. It’s easy to get started, and while there’s a lot to learn, you’ll have no trouble if you follow all of the information on this page.


Some of our top-rated sites for horse race betting are FanDuel, BetMGM, Betway, and Unibet.

Yes, you can make a good profit from horse racing if you understand the sport well, find the best odds and make the most of bonus offers.

Choosing the right sportsbook with the best odds is the first step to successful betting. Aside from this, you should also understand the sport and study the form of individual horses and jockeys to find value in the odds. You should be patient and choose each wager carefully. 

The sportsbooks we feature here on our site are all completely legit and safe to use in Michigan. You can check to see if the site is licensed before you join.

You can enjoy bonuses such as risk-free bets, matched deposit bonuses, free bets, odds boosts, and more at all of the top US sportsbooks.