The Michigan House of Representatives on Oct. 30, 2019, approved the plan of state Rep. Hank Vaupel, R-Fowlerville, to allow the use of updated technologies for wagering on horse racing. The move — part of a wide-ranging bipartisan plan updating the way gaming is conducted and regulated in Michigan — is meant to help the state’s agricultural industry.
Michigan racetracks currently do not use technologies such as advance deposit wagering, which allows people to place pari-mutuel wagers online. While these types of wagers are already happening statewide, only out-of-state businesses are operating the sites, with no revenue coming into Michigan, or a regulatory framework in place. This greatly affects the state’s racing community and agriculture industry.
Under Vaupel’s plan, horse racing enthusiasts would be able to use new technology to place the same types of wagers currently allowed in person at tracks where live racing is held.
“If we continue to remain idle on modernizing the horse racing industry, Michigan will continue to lose its competitive edge and much-needed revenue currently going to other states,” said Vaupel, of Fowlerville. “Now more than ever, with technology controlling the flow of how wagering is conducted, it’s important we put our state on the right track. That’s what this legislation does. It allows our horse racing industry to stay relevant, and keeps money made on wagering here in Michigan.”
The horse racing industry supports more than 12,000 jobs 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 House approval of his plan is another step closer to generating more involvement in the sport, and increasing agricultural activity that directly supports the horse racing industry as a whole.
House Bill 4310, along with the rest of the sweeping plan, now advances to the Senate for consideration.