Online Horse Betting in Michigan 2022

A piece of state legislature signed in 2019 opened the door for legalized online horse betting in Michigan. In the Great Lakes State, horse race betting now forms a significant part of Michigan online sports betting.

In-person Michigan horse racing betting has been around since the early 1930s. However, with the addition of being able to bet online from within the state, we look at the current exciting lay of the land for horse racing betting in Michigan.

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Table of Contents

Where to bet on horses online in Michigan

For those looking for in-person horse betting in the Great Lakes Stakes, the only Michigan horse track still in operation is Northville Downs, which provides plenty of top live-action, but offers only limited access to racing betting.

But for those preferring some Michigan horse racing betting from the comfort of their own home on a broader scale, there are some excellent online options to consider. 

Among the recommended places to bet on horses in Michigan, TVG was one of the first to obtain a license within the state. BetMGM, TwinSpires, NYRA, Xpress Bet and BetAmerica followed, delivering high-quality online horse racing betting experiences to Michiganians.

Aside from horse racing betting and sports betting, there are also several Michigan online casinos that offer some fantastic online casino bonuses.

Advantages of online vs brick-and-mortar horse betting

When, where and how a bettor does horse race betting in Michigan will be down to their preference. By taking a closer look at online vs brick-and-mortar horse betting, there does appear to be some advantage to getting on the internet and placing bets.

Convenience is the crux of it all. Loading a mobile betting app, or opening a browser on a computer and logging into an online betting account for horse racing, means that wagers can be done immediately.

There's no having to make a journey to a brick and mortar location, spending time and gas money to get there and back. Hours of operation will be another big difference between the two methods of betting as well.

Online racebooks don't close and can offer international markets from cards even when it's a quiet time in US racing.

Michigan race tracks

Northville Downs is the most famous of the Michigan race tracks as it has been hosting live-action for over a century. The track is right in the heart of Northville, and it offers Simulcast racing betting. 

Northville Downs is the only active race track in the Great Lakes State, and it offers a mix of standardbred, Michigan thoroughbred racing and harness racing. The history of the Detroit race course started in the 1940s and is still going strong today.

The meets at Northville Down run primarily on weekends throughout the calendar year.

How to bet on horse races in Michigan

In Michigan, horse racing betting is straightforward for any bettors looking to get online and place their wagers. Besides an internet connection, the first requirement to get started is an account with a leading licensed online betting site.

Michigan’s residents will need personal details like their name, address and date of birth. ID verification will be required to get an account, and that will be done with a picture ID like a driver’s license or a passport. 21 is the legal age for online horse racing betting in Michigan.

After getting an account opened for Michigan horse racing betting, the next step will be to fund the account. Betting sites offer various payment methods for depositing into the account, like ACH, debit card, credit card, e-wallets and wire transfers. 

With a funded account held, then it is down to the business of making your horse racing betting selections in Michigan. There are different ways to bet on horses, and it will be a personal journey for individual bettors. It’s worth understanding how to read the form and always look for tips from sources like Michigan horse racing news.

Straight Bets are a popular approach in horse racing betting, especially for beginners. But even seasoned horse racing bettors can stick to the straightforward options.

Win - A backed selection from a race card to cross the line first

Place - A Place bet on a horse covers them finishing in the first or second positions

Show - A Show bet on horse racing betting covers a selection for a finish in the first, second or third

Fixed Odds Bets - Prices set by the racebook

Parimutuel Bets - Pool betting

Exotic bets in horse racing are a step beyond those straight bets. Exotic bets are a play towards more significant profits from riskier bets, as they put more legs and conditions on selections. Here are a few of the popular exotic horse racing bets.

Exacta - Is a wager in which two horses are selected in a race to finish first and second in the exact order.

Quinella - Offering a little leeway compared to an Exacta is the Quinella. This horse race bet again selects the top two finishers in a race, but to finish in any order.

Trifecta - This is a tough wager to pull off because it needs the selection of the first three finishers in the exact order.

Superfecta - The Superfecta takes things to another level still by requiring four selections. It requires the exact finishing order for the first four runners in a race.

Boxing Exotics - It is possible to 'Box' exotics for horse racing. An example is a Boxed Exacta. With a separate bet added, it would cover both potential outcomes from two horses selected in an Exacta. With two horses selected, the exact finishing order will be Horse A, Horse B or Horse B, Horse A. Boxing creates a bet (therefore, an extra stake is needed) that covers both outcomes.

Multi-Race Bets - Options to create a multi bet exist in horse racing betting in Michigan. This is where the win or place selections of consecutive races from the same meeting are made.

Horse betting odds

Horse betting odds are presented in one of two ways. The first is fixed horse racing odds, which are more commonly found on futures. Fixed odds horse racing is when the bookmaker sets the quote offered on a horse. 

The odds taken is the one that the bet gets settled at, no matter what happens in the market. So if a selection is backed at 5.0 odds, but their winning SP is 6.0, you will be locked into the price that the bet was struck at.

A lot of horse racing in Michigan is done via the pari-mutuel method, pool betting. It is the method used at horse race tracks in Michigan. All stakes placed upon a horse race are collected together in a pot.

Once the operator has taken their cut, the rest of the money in the pot is shared between the winning tickets for the race. It means that when a bet is struck, the final odds of the selection won’t be known until the race is completed. 

Morning Line odds on racecards indicate where track handicappers think the horse is likely going to be in terms of odds.

Main horse racing events in Michigan

There are no major horse betting Michigan events, with only Northville Downs offering seasonal meetings on weekends. 

However, when the likes of the Kentucky Derby or the Breeders Cup come along in the calendar, Northville celebrates with Simulcast horse racing betting.

Kentucky Derby - This is the first of the classics that form the Triple Crown of horse racing in the USA. The Kentucky Derby is hosted at Churchill Downs, and runners have to qualify for a place in the field. This famous race is run on the first Saturday in May.

Preakness - This is the middle leg of the Triple Crown, and it's a tough one for runners because it's run only a couple of weeks after the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness is hosted at Pimlico in Baltimore. So the race is the shortest of the three Triple Crown legs.

Belmont Stakes - As the Belmont is the longest distance of the three races, it's a tough finish for any horse bidding for a Triple Crown. The Belmont Stakes in New York is hosted three weeks after the Preakness.

Breeders' Cup Classic - The Breeders' Cup Classic doesn't have a permanent home - it visits different venues. The 1 1/4 mile contest attracts entries from around the world and boasts a massive purse.

Among the top international horse racing fixtures worth looking out for is the Dubai World Cup. The massive thoroughbred fixture is a highlight of the calendar year and throws huge prize money around. 

The Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Grand National, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and the Melbourne Cup are also big international racing fixtures.

Upcoming horse race events in May 2022 (MI & USA)





May 6th

Kentucky Oaks

Churchill Downs

May 7th

Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs

May 8th



Michigan horse racing history (including online)

Pari-mutuel horse racing in Michigan was first launched in the Great Lakes State in 1933, so the state has an excellent long history with horse racing betting. The only horse racing venue in the state, Northville Downs began operations in the 1940s.

The Horse Racing Law of 1995 in Michigan allowed for the application of pari-mutuel on live and simulcast horse racing results.

The latest change to Michigan horse racing betting happened in 2019 when Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed off on House Bill 4310, allowing third-party online betting operators to apply for an operating license within the state. 

That paved the way for online Michigan horse racing betting to start in the summer of 2021. TVG was the first such operator later in Michigan. 


Online horse racing betting is entirely legal in Michigan, with a bill introduced in 2019 to allow for the practice to occur.

The legal minimum age for online horse racing in Michigan is 21.

Betting on horse races online is a simple process of a player just needing to sign up and fund an account. Then it is a matter of browsing through the racecards on a site and making the selections.

Horse racing betting is a personal thing, so one person may have their reasons for picking one Michigan horse racing betting site over another. Among the most highly recommended ones are TVG and XpressBet.

Reading horse racing form is an important thing to get a grip on. It helps paint a picture of what might happen in a race. The form on racecards can be overwhelming, so start small, looking at a few key areas like current form, jockey form and trainer form and build from there.

If you are in Michigan, you can bet on the Kentucky Derby or any other race, even international cards if they are offered, with an online betting site.

One of the best ways to look at the schedule of race days in Michigan is to visit the website of Northville Downs, which lists their schedule for the year.

It is not necessary to be a Michigan resident to bet on horse races from within the Great Lake Stakes.