HomeMichigan Online Horse BettingOff-Track Betting in Michigan

Off-track betting in Michigan

Michigan’s off-track betting industry is nearly non-existent, though there are efforts underway to revive the practice. This page contains the latest Michigan OTB news and updates.

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Horse racing in the U.S. is at a precarious point in the industry’s history. Handle numbers remain high ($11.658B in 2023), but the number of races run annually has declined by 50% over the last 30 years (72,342 in 1993, 35,989 in 2023).

In Michigan, there are currently no race tracks or off-track betting facilities that are licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Instead, pari-mutuel and advanced deposit wagering must be conducted through an online platform or racebook app

Are there any off-track betting locations in Michigan?

No, there are not any off-track betting locations in Michigan. There are also no facilities offering live horse racing following the closure of Northville Downs in February 2024.

Northville Downs plans to reopen a simulcast wagering venue in the near future, having already secured 128 acres of land in Plymouth Township to build a new harness racing facility. Until then, Michiganders are encouraged to make advanced deposit wagers (ADWs) through sites like TwinSpires or TVG.

Off-track betting and how it works

The term “off-track betting,” sometimes shortened to “OTB,” refers to all gambling activities pertaining to horse or greyhound racing that are conducted away from the racetrack grounds. It is most often associated with simulcast racing, where bettors can wager on and watch races from across the country and around the world.

Off-track betting supplements track revenues and prize purses by taking a percentage of all wagered monies and adding them to the winner’s shares. The “exacta” and “trifecta” wager types were actually invented at OTB facilities to increase revenue streams.

How could I place a bet at OTB locations in Michigan?

You won’t be able to place a bet at an OTB location in Michigan any time soon, but should any such facilities reopen, you’ll be able to make your wagers by following these steps:

  1. Choose where to gamble: This decision will likely be the easiest one. The next OTB location to open in Michigan will be the only off-track betting facility in the state.
  2. Study up on the races: At a minimum, it will be helpful for you to know the recent performances of the horses in the field, the jockeys and trainers working with the horses, how track and weather conditions have impacted finishing order, and how starting positions have made the horses adapt their running styles. The more information you have at your disposal ahead of time, the better.
  3. Decide which wagers have the best betting value: According to the American Quarter Horse Association, the horse that enters the race as the favorite ends up winning around 40% of the time, with this number dropping to around 36% for thoroughbred racing. This means approximately 60% of the time, the winning horse will come from somewhere else in the field. Finding betting value is about balancing the probability of winning with the potential payout. Balancing both favorites and underdogs to add to your betting slips will help you develop strategies and hopefully lead to more consistent wins.
  4. Travel to the OTB facility: If the new Northville Downs facility opens as planned, the sole OTB location in Michigan will be approximately a 30-minute drive from Detroit.
  5. Walk up to the window and place your bet: You don’t want to be the person holding up the line when trying to place your bets ahead of the race, especially as it gets close to post time. Have the money you intend to wager in hand, and make sure you know the track name, race number, amount you’re wagering, the type of wager, and the saddlecloth number of the horse you’re backing. For example, your wager should sound something like “Churchill Downs, Race Four, I’d like to bet $2 to win on the No. 4 horse.”

Expert advice when off-track betting in Michigan

We consulted with our top Michigan horse race betting experts to get their advice when off-track betting. Once it is available in Michigan again, here are the top OTB tips to follow.

  • Trust your gut: Assuming you’ve done sufficient research, you should feel confident about the wagers you’re making. Don’t place a wager you’re uncomfortable with, and don’t be swayed by the rumblings you hear at the facility, even if many others are backing a different horse in your race.
  • Bet favorites early and underdogs late: If you’re planning to back the favorite horse, you’re more likely to get better odds closer to the time the lines are posted. On the contrary, if you’re backing an underdog, betting close to the post time should get you closer to the optimal betting value. This is because lines move based on the betting action, and the public tends to bet on favorites right away.
  • Talk to someone you trust about the amount of time and money you’re spending: Transparency and accountability are two excellent ways to practice responsible gambling. Honest conversations about how much you’ll be wagering and how much time you will be spending at an OTB facility will help keep you on track and avoid the pitfalls of compulsive gambling behaviors.


Can I watch the races live at an OTB location in Michigan?

No, you cannot watch live races at an OTB location in Michigan, as there are no off-track betting facilities available in the state. However, once Northville Downs reopens, you’ll be able to watch simulcast races of horse racing events from around the world.

Are there any special promotions or bonuses for OTB bettors in Michigan?

No, there are no special promotions or bonuses for OTB bettors in Michigan. There aren’t any open off-track betting facilities in MI, though Northville Downs is working to reopen a facility in Plymouth Township (about 30 minutes west of Detroit).

What are the tax implications of off-track betting winnings in Michigan?

Off-track betting winnings are taxed as part of your income. In Michigan, income is taxed at a flat 4.25% rate, so your gambling winnings would be included as part of that income.

Can I place off-track bets online in Michigan?

No, you cannot track the bets you make at an off-track betting facility in Michigan online. Wagers made through a racebook app or website and those made at an OTB venue are tracked differently even if the same company is providing the odds in-person and digitally. Michigan also does not have any off-track betting facilities at this time.

How can I find the nearest off-track betting location in Michigan?

Once off-track betting locations return to Michigan, you’ll be able to find a full list of available options at MIBetting.com. We will also post any applicable bonuses and promotions from those venues.

What types of bets can I place through off-track betting in Michigan?

When off-track betting locations reopen in Michigan (there aren’t any at the moment), you’ll be able to place straightforward wagers like win, place, and show bets. You’ll also be able to make more exotic bets, such as exactas, trifectas, superfectas, and quinellas.