It went down to the wire, but TwinSpires will be able to take legal, regulated bets in Michigan on Saturday for horse racing’s signature race.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced that Churchill Downs Technology Initiatives Co. signed an agreement Thursday just in time for the brand to take online wagers for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
The agreement was made with Northville Downs, the state’s only horse racing track left in Michigan which cuts deals with online operators for advance deposit wagering on pari-mutuel races.
TwinSpires joins TVG for Michigan horse racing bets
The temporary license is the second in Michigan, joining TVG Network, which was already live in the Great Lakes State.
Because of the pandemic, the Kentucky Derby was postponed from early May to Labor Day weekend this year.
For all the logistical nightmares caused by COVID-19, horse racing bettors in Michigan may actually benefit here.
“Michigan horse racing fans now have more options for placing bets from anywhere in the state on horse races with Northville Downs using mobile wagering,” MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm said, in a statement. “This new way of betting should increase interest in horse racing and provide additional funds for the industry.”
TwinSpires now regulated in Michigan
Churchill Downs operates TwinSpires and BetAmerica, two of the industry leaders in online horse betting. The apps had already been operating in Michigan, but only TwinSpires now will be licensed for now, a board spokesperson told PlayMichigan.
TVG, which is owned by The FanDuel Group, launched in Michigan back in June.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed expanded gambling laws in December, which in addition to sports betting, also permitted mobile wagering on horse racing.
As part of the changes, Whitmer amended the Horse Racing Law of 1995, permitting third-party firms to facilitate online wagering.
Two horses scratched from Kentucky Derby
As far as the race, Finnick the Fierce scratched Friday because of an illness. King Guillermo is also out of the race, meaning the field will have 16 horses.
King Guillermo is owned by former Detroit Tigers slugger Victor Martinez, who owns Victoria’s Ranch in central Florida.
PlayMichigan has your betting guide and information on all things Kentucky Derby.
Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law is the 3-5 betting favorite.
Post time is 7:01 p.m. ET from Louisville’s Churchill Downs, which will have no fans in the stands.
Northville Downs, apps only place for Derby wagers
The state’s tribal and commercial casinos with sportsbooks do not offer horse racing wagers.
Little River Casino Resort announced on Facebook on Friday that it would not be accepting wagers on the race, and Four Winds Casino did not have it listed for its Kambi system.
You can also simulcast the Kentucky Derby and bet on it at Northville Downs.