In Michigan, mobile off-track betting is gaining legislative support

In Michigan, a bill that allows pari-mutuel horse racing bets through mobile devices is gaining legislative support, despite opposition from casinos in the state.

The Michigan Legislature is considering amending the Michigan Horse Racing Law of 1995. Bettors would no longer be required to be physically located at a racetrack or inside an off-track betting (OTB) facility to play the ponies and would be permitted to legally wager statewide through licensed third-party apps running on phones and tablets.

According to the website, the Michigan House is delaying a decision to give themselves added time to consider the viewpoint of the bill’s opposition which include Detroit’s three commercial casinos and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, operators of the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant.

Michigan law forbids gaming expansion without voter approval. The opposition says the bill expands gambling and essentially legalizes online betting. Supporters contend betting on phones or tablets is not creating a new form of betting thus the bill is not constitutionally prohibited.