Horse Racing in Michigan

Gambling online is now being legalized in a number of states. It looked like Michigan would be following in the footsteps of New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware in 2018, but after former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed the legislation, the matter of MI online betting has seemingly been put on hold.

Michigan online gambling has technically been allowed since 2014, when the Michigan Lottery was launched. In addition, Michigan sports betting in the form of horse racing, greyhound racing, and Fantasy Sports have been available for a number of years too. Therefore, it’s not a huge stretch to imagine that the MI online betting legislation will be passed in the near future.

Located in the Detroit suburb of Northville, Northville Downs was the first track in Michigan to offer standardbred, pari-mutual wagering. It has been in existence since 1944, making it the senior pari-mutual racetrack in Michigan.

Farmington Hills-based homebuilder Hunter Pasteur Homes is under contract to buy the Northville Downs horse racetrack and redevelop the 48-acre property for housing.

The harness racetrack’s land has long been sought by developers in upscale Northville, but the project wouldn’t necessarily end horse racing in the area.

Northville Downs, Michigan’s last horse track since Hazel Park Raceway closed earlier this month, will remain open until the development begins. The track’s owners will seek to continue racing and wagering operations “at an area in close proximity to its current location,” according to the statement from Hunter Pasteur Homes.  A race calendar is available on the state’s website.

Northville Downs currently is open seven days weekly for harness and thoroughbred simulcast wagering, and Friday and Saturday evenings for live races which returned March 22nd.

Northville Downs stated that live harness racing and simulcast wagering will continue at their current location through 2020. They are in the process of exploring multiple other locations to develop a first-class, state-of-the-art racing and gaming facility that Michigan will be proud of. They will continue to work closely with state and local representatives to implement the necessary changes that other states around us have, so they can bring racing back to its finest.

It has been stated that it is unclear if the track’s ownership will open a new facility regardless of changes in Michigan’s gaming laws, which prevent tracks from adding non-horse gambling like slot machines, or if it will build anew even without more forms of wagering.

Northville Downs is a half mile harness track located in Northville a suburb of Detroit. Opened in 1944, it had been recognized as the first successful harness track outside of New York State. The years have taken their toll on Northville, it does have a winterized, glass enclosed grandstand, and clubhouse. The clubhouse seating 2,000, which includes a dining room with 450 seats, the grandstand seats another 5,200. Live racing is held at night and simulcasting is available year-round. The stables can accommodate 750 horses. There is parking for 2,500 cars.

Northville Downs currently is open seven days weekly for simulcast wagering, and Friday and Saturday evenings for live races.

Thoroughbred Racing in Michigan could return in 2020. AmRace & Sports LLC was granted a conditional license by the Michigan Gaming and Control Board for Thoroughbred racing at Sports Creek in 2019 but due to sale and legislation changes, Thoroughbred racing is now slated to come back to the state in 2020.

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