A new plan with measures drafted by a local legislator would modernize gambling on horse races in Michigan while giving a bump in support to the agricultural industry.

Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville’s measure to update on how horse racing fans can bet on the ponies was approved by the Michigan House on Tuesday. If signed into law, Michigan racetracks would be allowed to use technologies like advance deposit wagering, which allows for pari-mutuel betting. Pari-mutuel betting is a form in which bets are pooled, and then those backing the top 3 places in a race divide the losers’ stakes. These bets are currently happening stateside, but are only being run by out-of-state businesses, and none of the revenue generated from them is coming to Michigan. This affects not only horse racing in-state, but also provides additional financial support to numerous county fairs that depend on racing as a source of revenue. Vaupel’s plan would allow for these pari-mutuel bets to be placed in person at tracks where live racing is held.

Vaupel said in a release that if the state “continues to remain idle on the horse racing industry, that Michigan will continue to lose its competitive edge and much-needed revenue currently going to other states.” This legislation, he says, “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 roughly $1-billion to the Michigan economy each year.

House Bill 4310 now advances to the Senate for consideration. (MK)