Rep. Vaupel: Modernizing horse betting would put Michigan on right track

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To help the agricultural industry throughout Michigan, state Rep. Hank Vaupel, R-Handy Township, today introduced a measure allowing people to use updated technologies for wagering on horse racing. Vaupel’s legislation is part of a wide-ranging bipartisan plan updating the way gaming is conducted and regulated statewide.

Michigan tracks currently do not utilize technologies such as advance deposit wagering, which allows people to place pari-mutuel wagers online. While these types of wagers are already happening in Michigan, only out-of-state businesses are operating the sites — with no revenue coming to Michigan. This hurts the state’s racing community and agriculture industry.

Under Vaupel’s plan, horse racing enthusiasts would be able to utilize new technology to place the same types of wagers currently allowed in person at tracks where live racing is held.

“Without this change, the Michigan horse racing industry is losing out on revenue currently going to other states,” said Vaupel, of Fowlerville. “We will move our state forward by adapting to new technology that allows our horse racing industry to stay relevant, and keeps money made on wagering in Michigan.”

The horse racing industry employs more than 12,000 people and contributes nearly $1 billion to Michigan’s economy each year. In addition, horse racing provides financial support to numerous county fairs throughout the state.

Vaupel said the approval of his plan would generate more involvement in the sport, ultimately increasing agricultural activity to support the industry.

House Bill 4310, along with the rest of the sweeping plan, now moves to the House Regulatory Reform Committee.

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