Michigan Horse Racing Industry Gets A Jolt From Online Gaming

Online action is the reason Michigan's horse racing industry is more flush than it was a year ago
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Not only have Michigan residents benefitted from legalized online sports betting and iCasino, but so have the state’s horses.

In fact, Michigan’s horse racing industry will be getting over $8.1 million in taxes collected in 2021 from the various forms of legalized gaming found in the state, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced in a press release. And while the money comes from all areas of the gaming world, it’s pretty clear the 2021 legalization of online sports betting and casino play was the main driver of the windfall.

“Michigan’s horse racing industry has benefited from additional funding to the Michigan Agriculture Equine Industry Development Fund (AEIDF),” said Henry Williams, MGCB executive director. “Fund revenue was $2.3 million in 2019, $2 million in 2020, and grew to $8.2 million in 2021.”

The money collected supports the breeding of horses in the state, as well as helping to pay for industry research and horse racing promotional material. The AEIDF also pitches in to help pay for MGCB’s regulatory expenses, including race personnel, licensing, and blood testing.

Investing in the future

“The AEIDF promotes economic development by providing funding in Michigan’s rural areas, and the proposed fiscal year 2023 budget includes continued opportunities to invest in our rural communities,” Williams said. 

And while sportsbooks in Michigan are not allowed to offer parimutuel wagers on horse racing, the state’s law was changed in December 2019 to allow betting on horses online via a third party. In 2020, Churchill Downs TIC, TVG Network, and XpressBet all got their licensees, and NYRABets was given a conditional license last year. 

Online casino brought in over $4.5 million to the AEIDF, while online sports betting lagged behind with $412,498. Additionally, the three Detroit casinos pay 5% of their internet sports betting and casino gaming revenue to the AEIDF.

Photo: Shutterstock

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