HomeMichigan Online Horse Betting

Michigan online horse betting

Horse betting has always been one of the most popular forms of gambling in the United States, and that holds true among Michigan bettors. With the recent expansion of online horse betting across the U.S., it’s time to take a look at Michigan online horse betting, including where you can play, how to get started, and what types of wagers you can make.

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Best Michigan horse race betting sites

Michigan has several horse race betting sites to choose from, and while the list isn’t as lengthy as the available options for online casino gaming or online sports betting in Michigan, you’ll still find an ample selection of racebooks. Here are some of the best horse race betting sites in Michigan.

FanDuel Racing Michigan Logo

FanDuel Racing

FanDuel Racing is the horse betting arm of the popular sportsbook and daily fantasy sports operator and is the first bookmaker to allow players to use a single account for sports and horse race betting. Users can also stream races using FanDuel TV, which is accessible in both the web browser and mobile app. It is the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby.

TVG Michigan Logo


TVG launched its horse racing book in 1999, but it has recently become a partner with FanDuel following a merger between FanDuel and TVG’s previous owner Paddy Power Betfair. With around-the-world race coverage and a proven track record, TVG is an excellent option for Michigan horse bettors.

TwinSpires Michigan Logo


In 2022, TwinSpires shut down its sports betting verticals to focus solely on its horse racing betting vertical. The platform is owned and operated by Churchill Downs Inc. TwinSpires is a regular innovator in the horse race betting technology space and is a leading site for thoroughbred, quarter-horse, and harness racing.

Yes, online horse betting is legal in Michigan. The state first allowed pari-mutuel wagering in 1933 with expansion coming in 1995. However, it wasn’t until HB 4310 was passed in 2019 that advance deposit wagering was permitted, expanding the available offerings among Michigan racebooks.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) oversees horse betting throughout the state, as well as sports betting and online casino play. You should only place wagers with racebooks that hold an MGCB license, as others aren’t safe to use and may be illegal.

When in doubt, refer to the racebooks listed on this site; we won’t list any offshore or unlicensed operators on our pages.

Types of horse race bets

Understanding the different types of horse race bets can be one of the more frustrating parts of learning about horse racing, but we’re here to help clear up any confusion you may have. The first thing to look for is whether you’re dealing with a straight bet or an exotic wager.

Straight bets are generally more straightforward and involve picking only one winner while exotic wagers can be somewhat like a parlay in sports betting. You can use exotics to combine multiple horses or multiple races into a single wager.

Here are a few of the more common and popular types of horse race bets.

  • Win, Place, and Show: Win bets are as simple as a wager can get; all you need to do is pick the horse you think will win the race. With a place bet, your bet can win if the horse you’re backing finishes either first or second, and a show bet covers a finish anywhere in the top three spots. Of these three types, the payout is largest for a win bet and smallest for a show.
  • Exacta, Trifecta, and Superfecta: Moving into the exotic, an exacta bet is a wager on the top two finishers in a horse race with the order correct as well. The trifecta is a wager on the exact order for the top three finishers, and superfecta for the top four. Odds escalate for each finishing spot included in the wager.
  • Pari-mutuel wagers: Pari-mutuel wagers are bets that don’t have fixed odds. Instead, the payoff odds come from sharing the pool with all other winning bettors. This means you won’t know the potential payout on your bet until after the pool closes; it also means you’re playing against other bettors instead of the house. You can place any of the bet types listed above as a fixed odds or pari-mutuel wager.

History of horse race betting in Michigan

  • 1933: Michigan passes the Racing Act of 1933, which legalized and regulated pari-mutuel horse race wagering in the state. This act also led to the creation of the Office of Racing Commissioner (ORC) to promote the safety, security, growth, and integrity of all horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering in the state.
  • September 1933: Mayco becomes the first horse to win a pari-mutuel race in Michigan.
  • 1949: Hazel Park opens in Detroit and soars to popularity as a thoroughbred course. It would later expand to harness racing, and simulcast racing was added in 1996.
  • 1950: The Detroit Race Course, affectionately known as the DRC or “The Det,” opens in Livonia. It began as a thoroughbred course but also opened to standardbred hardness racing.
  • 1987: A fire breaks out in the stables at Hazel Park, killing 15 of the 26 horses in the stables. The cause of the fire was never discovered.
  • 1995: The Horse Racing Law of 1995 is passed, further regulating pari-mutuel and simulcast racing in Michigan.
  • 1998: The last horse races are held at the DRC.
  • 2004: Amid tensions between casinos and Michigan horse race tracks over whether to allow slot machines at the tracks, Proposal 1 passes, restricting most of the gambling operations in the state to casinos.
  • 2008: Because of the economic downturn impacting the state, the Michigan Legislature elects to absorb the ORC into the jurisdiction of the MGCB as a money-saving measure.
  • 2018: Hazel Park closes after 70 years of racing, leaving Northville Downs as the last live-racing course in Michigan.
  • 2019: HB 4310 is passed, amending the Horse Racing Law of 1995 to further allow online wagering on simulcast racing through third-party facilitators.

About Northville Downs in Michigan

Northville Downs is a racetrack and entertainment center located just northwest of Detroit and has been in continuous operation since 1944. It was the first nighttime harness racing course in Michigan and was built on the site of the former Wayne County Fairgrounds.

The racing season typically starts in April and runs through mid-December. Northville Downs is the only remaining standardbred live racing track in Michigan. 

Standardbreds run a one-mile race, but the Northville Downs track is a half-mile oval, so two laps are needed to run the course. Beyond live racing, Northville also offers simulcast racing, allowing bettors to gamble on races from around the world in real-time. However, there are no off-track betting locations in Michigan as of yet.

The Northville Downs facility has a partnership with TVG to cover all race betting activity.


What age do you have to be to bet on horses in Michigan?

You have to be at least 18 years of age to bet on horse races in Michigan. Horse race gambling carries a lower age requirement than other forms of gambling in the state like sports betting or online casinos, for which a player must be at least 21 years old.

Which horse betting site is the most used in Michigan?

Michigan horse betting sites don’t have publicly available data to determine which site is the most used in the state. However, based on their prevalence across the country, we would anticipate TVG, TwinSpires, and FanDuel Racing would be the most popular options.

How many horse race tracks are there in Michigan?

As of 2024, Michigan only has one horse race track that hosts live and simulcast racing. That facility is the Northville Downs track, located roughly halfway between Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Which horse betting site is the latest to launch in MI?

FanDuel Racing is the latest horse race betting site to launch in MI. It first began accepting wagers in Michigan in January 2021.

When did online horse betting become legal in Michigan?

Michigan legalized online horse betting in 2019 after several years of operation on shaky legal grounds. The bill passed in 2019 (HB 4310) expanded the Horse Racing Law of 1995 to explicitly allow advance deposit wagering in Michigan. In-person pari-mutuel wagering has been legal in the state since 1933.