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Michigan racing industry funding spikes thanks to gaming expansion in 2021


Michigan’s betting sector has quadrupled its contribution to the state’s horse racing industry through taxes during the first full year of expanded gaming.

The Michigan Agriculture Equine Industry Development Fund (AEIDF) saw $8.1m collected in taxes in 2021 on various forms of betting regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), including internet wagering and simulcast wagering on horse races, internet casino gaming and online sports betting.

Internet casino gaming and internet sports betting completed their first nearly full year of operation in 2021 after a 22 January launch.

The AEIDF, which supports the breeding of horses in Michigan, supports research beneficial to the industry and promotes horse racing and other equine competitions in the state, brought in $2m in 2020 and $2.3m in 2019.

“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,” said Henry Williams, MGCB executive director.

In 2021, taxes on internet casino gaming provided $4.5m, and taxes on internet sports wagering provided $412,498 to the AEIDF. Michigan’s online gaming sector saw revenue of $1.40bn in 2021.

Simulcast wagering — wagering at a Michigan horse tracks on live races occurring at other venues — produced $1.8m in tax revenue in 2021. Third-party facilitator tax revenue was $1.3m in 2021.

The State of Michigan received $954,540 in taxes on simulcasting and $839,124 in taxes on third-party facilitator wagering in 2020. Because of COVID-19 health-related concerns, Northville Downs was closed in 2020 from 18 March until 14 August and again from 18 November until 21 December when it reopened for simulcasting. The track could not offer live racing nor simulcasting during the closures.

In 2021, the track operated 53 live race dates and offered simulcasting throughout the year.