Michigan Horse Race Betting

Although in-person horse betting has been legal in Michigan for decades, it’s only recently that horse racing enthusiasts have been able to place wagers through mobile apps and horse race betting sites. Below, we will break down everything you need to know about horse race betting in Michigan, including what apps are the best, how to register for a mobile betting platform, and what types of wagers you can make.

The Top Online Horse Race Betting Sites In Michigan

Michigan now has a variety of excellent online horse race betting sites for you to check out. Here are some of the top choices.


Visit: TVG Michigan and claim a first single-horse win wager up to $200 back using promo code 200TVG

TVG is widely considered to be the best horse racing app in the country, and for good reason. It includes 24-hour-a-day expert analyses, a horse racing community network that provides tips and betting strategies, live streaming of all major horse racing events, and an excellent opening bonus up to $200.


BetAmerica offers both horse race wagers and an extensive online library of casino games. It offers a wide array of horse and greyhound race wager lines across a multitude of states. Free video streaming of live races, as well as race replays, are available on both the desktop site and the iOS app.


Many wagerers also like TwinSpires: a consolidated gaming site that includes sports betting, casino games, and online horse race wagers. This is the official horse racing app of Churchill Downs, so it often includes special promotions and wagering opportunities for races at that track. 

What Types of Bets Are Available On Online Horse Betting Sites In Michigan?

Pari-mutuel horse race wagering has been legal in Michigan since 1933. In fact, this was the only form of legal wagering in the state until the early 1970s. Online apps launched a few years ago, and each of the above mobile betting platforms allows you to place a variety of wagers.

In a nutshell, pari-mutuel wagering is a kind of betting where the price of each wager is set by the bettors, and the prize pool gets larger as more wagerers join in. The most popular pari-mutuel wagers, therefore, are also the most profitable.

There are three primary bet types.

Single And Multi-Horse Bets

Single-horse wagers are straightforward. You put your money down on a single horse and bet on one of three outcomes.

In pari-mutuel horse racing, the types of bets are:

  • Win (where you wager that your horse will win the race outright)
  • Place (which involves wagering that your horse will come in first or second place)
  • Show (which means your horse will win in first, second, or third place)

Naturally, “win” wagers are potentially worth more since there aren’t as many success conditions.

You can also place multiple horse bets, putting money down on several horses at once. These also come in a few major types:

  • Exacta bets require you to pick two horses and to pick the places in which they will finish. For you to win the wager, both of your horses must finish first and second in the order you predicted. Many experienced horse bettors “box” multi-horse bets, which involves wagering twice on different horse placements so you cover all possible winning conditions between both horses
  • Trifecta wagers require you to pick three horses and bet that they finish in a particular order
  • Superfecta wagers are the same as above but involve picking four horses that must finish in the order you predicted for you to win

Multi-horse bets often have larger prize pools since it’s trickier to predict multiple horses winning or finishing a race in a particular order than it is to put money down on a single horse.

Multi-Race Bets

The best horse race betting sites in Michigan will also let you place multiple race bets. As their names suggest, these involve putting money down on the placements or winners of multiple races in succession. For example:

  • Pick 5/6 bets require you to choose the winner of several races at a particular track on one day. These wagers are popular because prize pools roll over to the next day of a tourney – over time, and if enough people lose, the jackpot can become quite large.
  • Futures wagers involve combining multiple futures bets for bit tournaments or derbies. For example, you can wager on the Triple Crown with a futures wager, as this requires one horse to win multiple races in succession.

Other Exotic Bets

“Exotic” horse race bets are more complex and trickier to get correct, but they can often have very high payouts. In order to win an exotic bet, you must predict every element of the wager correctly. These include traditional multi-horse bets and:

  • Daily Double bets, where you wager on the first place finishers for two races that involve different horses.
  • Combination bets, which involve combining several single horse bets into a larger wager. You win more money if you get each successive wager correct.
  • Pick 3 wagers, where you bet on the first place winner for three consecutive races, one after the other.

As you can see, there’s a wide variety of wager types available for online horse race betting. This has added to the activity’s popularity over time.

What Types Of Bonuses Are Available When Betting On Horse Races Online?

Horse race betting apps often provide great opening bonuses for new users. You can access these bonuses by making an account and fulfilling any applicable conditions.

For instance, TVG offers a first single-horse win wager up to $200 back if your chosen horse loses. To access this bonus, simply make an account, then deposit any amount of money up to $200 with the promo code 200TVG.

Other horse race betting apps may include different sign-up bonuses. AmWager, for instance, offers 10% bonus cash back (essentially a deposit match bonus) for every eligible dollar you wager for the first 30 days after making your account. This goes up to $500 in total, though you would need to deposit and wager $5000 over the 30-day timeframe in order to receive all that extra credit.

The bottom line is that you should investigate what opening bonuses are available from your sports betting app of choice.

Michigan Racetracks

Although horse race betting has been a popular pastime in Michigan for decades, live horse racing venues have been declining for the last 20 years. Indeed, only a single track is still in operation.

Northville Downs

Northville Downs is the last currently operating track in Michigan. Unfortunately, it closed down in 2021, as the track was previously purchased by a home developer that wants to use the land for housing projects.

As a result, Northville Downs is currently looking for relocation opportunities. At the moment, you can find Northville Downs at 301 S. Center St., Northville, Michigan. The track offers both life and simulcast racing, allowing you to enjoy and place wagers on races from around the country.

What Are The Most Popular Horse Racing Events Of The Year?

The US is a major center for professional horse racing. Several top tournaments and derbies take place here throughout the year, and the sports betting platforms mentioned above usually allow wagers to be placed on these events. Bettors in Michigan, thanks to the previous legalization of pari-mutuel wagering and the full legalization of online sports wagering, can place bets on all of the below events.

Popular Horse Racing Events In The US

The Breeders’ Cup is an event that includes several thoroughbred races, offering multiple opportunities to make big wagers.

The Triple Crown, which features arguably the three most famous horse races in the world, includes:

  • The Kentucky Derby, the first official race of the Triple Crown.
  • The Preakness Stakes
  • The Belmont Stakes, which takes place three weeks after the Preakness Stakes

Popular International Horse Racing Events

Note that the above races take place exclusively in the United States. The international horse betting markets revolve around major races that are scheduled to take place this year in other countries, such as Dubai.

  • Among the most famous international horse racing events is the Dubai World Cup. This thoroughbred horse race has been a recurring event since 1996.
  • You’ll also want to check out wagers from the Saudi Cup: an international race held in Saudi Arabia. It was first held last year, in 2020.
  • The Pegasus World Cup began in 2017 and is expected to run in 2024 as well.

Is Online Horse Race Betting Legal In Michigan?

Yes. Online horse race wagering was fully legalized in 2019 with the passage of HB 4310. This officially allowed any third-party online horse race betting operators to apply for online or mobile wager licensure. The industry launched in July 2020, along with the rest of Michigan’s online sports betting industry.

So far, there are several top online sports betting operators in Michigan, several of which either offer horserace wagers or are dedicated to horse racing overall. 

Michigan Horse Racing History

Michigan has been a haven for horse race wagering for a long time. Pari-mutuel wagering was legalized in 1933, and the old Detroit Fairgrounds Track saw the first major race in the same year. The 1950s saw the Detroit Race Course built to replace the old track; this course was the first Michigan track to hold a thoroughbred meet.

Horse racing continued to develop in Michigan throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Unfortunately, the 1990s saw horse racing in Michigan begin a steep decline that it has not yet recovered from. Detroit Race Course and Muskegon Downs both went out of business, and this trend continued until today. Only a single racetrack remains in operation in Michigan.

Fortunately, horse race wagering has seen new developments in the form of online wagering. Now horse racing enthusiasts can place wagers on horse races across the country or the world from the comfort of their couch and without having to visit a physical racetrack. 

Online horse race wagering is now legal alongside other forms of online gambling, such as sports betting, casino games, and daily fantasy sports.

Is It Safe To Bet On A Legal Online Horse Betting Site?

Yes. Legal online horse betting sites:

  • Use thorough digital security for their users’ funds and personal information, limiting the potential risk of a cyberattack.
  • Create good wagers and allow bettors to connect with one another securely.
  • Are licensed and regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, which investigates any problems and ensures fair play on the part of all parties.

In contrast, offshore and illegal betting sites are much riskier to use. There’s nothing stopping them from abusing your personal information or taking your funds for themselves.

How Do You Register At Online Horse Race Betting Sites In Michigan?

Registration for online horserace betting sites is relatively simple, though the process is a little different depending on your platform.

Desktop Registration

  • Visit the horse racing betting site of your choice by typing the name into Google
  • Find a “register” button to begin the process

Apple iOS Registration

  • Type the name of your app of choice into the Apple App Store’s search bar.
  • Download the app when prompted. The installation will begin automatically.

Android Registration

Now that Google allows gambling apps on its platform, Michigan horse betting apps are likely available for download on the platform. Check there first.

If your app of choice isn’t listed yet on Google Play, simply visit the official mobile site and download it directly that way.

  • Type the name of the horse racing app you want to use into Google.
  • Visit the mobile site.
  • Find a “download for Android” button.
  • Download the app to your phone.

In all of the above cases, you’ll need to register for a horse race betting site or app by:

  • Providing information such as your Social Security number, physical address, and more, to prove your identity.
  • Funding your account through one of the below deposit methods.

Each horse race betting site will use geolocation software to prevent you from placing a wager outside state lines.

What Options Are There To Deposit And Withdraw At Online Horse Betting Sites?

Horse race betting sites usually provide a variety of deposit methods so you can quickly fund your account and start wagering. These methods include:

  • Debit or credit card transfers
  • e-Check/ACH transfers
  • Transfers from electronic wallets like PayPal
  • Prepaid cards associated with the site’s brand
  • PayNearMe terminals at gas stations and convenience stores

Online Horse Race Betting FAQs

Is online horse race betting legal in Michigan?

Yes, along with other online gambling activities like casino games and sports betting.

How old do I need to be to bet on horses online in Michigan?

You need to be 21 years of age or older.

Do you need to be in the state where a race occurs in order to place a bet online?

No. But you do need to be within Michigan state lines for your wager to go through.

Is it legal to bet on the Kentucky Derby online in Michigan?

Yes. All major horse race betting sites will offer Kentucky Derby wagers.

Is TVG online horse race betting legalized in Michigan?

Yes. It’s available for download now.

What about TwinSpires? Is it legal in Michigan?

Yes, alongside other horse race betting apps.

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman is Managing Editor of casinoreviewbank.com. A recovering attorney, she's spent almost a decade developing and managing websites and writing for a variety of industries. Amber became a Cubs fan after living a handful of blocks from Wrigley Field, much to the chagrin of her Mets-loving family and Red Sox-loving husband. Amber writes for a number of online sites including the food and lifestyle site Food And Drink Destinations.