Michigan Approves Churchill Downs Inc. to Offer Advance Deposit Wagering on Horse Racing

  • Mobile bets can now be taken on simulcast and live pari-mutuel races
  • Advance deposit wagering will be offered in conjunction with Northville Downs
  • Mobile horse racing was approved in Michigan in June
Horse race
The Michigan Gaming Control Board recently approved Churchill Downs Inc. to provide advance deposit wagering for horse races in the state. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

New betting option

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has been approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to provide advance deposit wagering (ADW) on horse races taking place in the state. The company can now take mobile bets on both simulcast and live pari-mutuel races.

The ADW will be provided via Northville Downs. The facility is the only racetrack in Michigan that is licensed to offer such services. CDI has a third-party partnership with the operator.

Advance deposit wagering

Late last year, the Michigan legislature amended the Horse Racing Law of 1995 so license holders could utilize third-party partners to provide pari-mutuel racing wagering. Players can now setup accounts with CDI and place bets on in-state races via mobile devices or browser window.

should increase interest in horse racing and provide additional funds for the industry.”

The executive director of the Board, Richard Kalm, issued the order and stated that now fans of horse racing in Michigan have more options for placing bets from anywhere within the state. He added: “This new way of betting should increase interest in horse racing and provide additional funds for the industry.”

The Board approved horse race betting via mobile in late June. In August, the Board allowed horse racing and simulcast wagering to begin again, after they were shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Severe handle drop for the Kentucky Derby

As Churchill Downs earned approval in Michigan, it experienced a large decrease in betting for this past weekend’s Kentucky Derby. The highly-anticipated race took place four months later than normal this year due to the pandemic.

The total handle for the race came in at just over $79m, over than 50% less than the $165.5m bet in 2019. For virus safety, there were no spectators this year, which led to lower betting totals. Smaller fields for the races as well as the existence of prohibitive favorites also contributed to the lower betting handle.