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Tote Betting Explained

Published on: 19/08/2011

Bay far the world’s most common form of horse race wagering is what’s known as “pari-mutuel betting.” Racecourses that offer this betting system set aside a portion of the total amount wagered on each race, typically 15~25%, for expenses course operations, purses and taxes. All of the money that remains is then divided by the total number of bets made in order to determine the projected payoff or “odds” to be returned on each wager.

When the odds are 9/2, for example, a winning ticket receives £9 profit for every £2 staked. At the racecourse, odds change all the time as wagers are made and totals are recalculated instantly by the trackside computer and then displayed on a large screen. This system is known as the pari-mutuel machine, totalisator or totaliser.

The official Horserace Totalisator Board in the United Kingdom is more widely referred to as “The Tote.” It is a statutory body that was created by Act of Parliament in 1928. Today, with head offices in Wigan and using the name Totesport, this British bookmaker operates over 500 high street betting shops and has established exclusive betting stations at 60 British racecourses. The Tote has also spread its services via the Internet and is responsible for running a number of call centre divisions that handle telephone wagering.

Indeed, the Tote is the only organisation in the U.K. authorised to conduct pool betting on horseracing. For that reason, pari-mutuel betting throughout Great Britain is synonymous with Tote Betting. Any bookmaker that provides customers with the Tote service or accepts Tote bets must do so through syndication.

There are rumours that this situation may change when the Tote completes its move toward privatization. In the meantime, market conditions since 2008 have forced the British government to delay allowing the Tote’s operations to go private, at least for the near term.

Types of pooled bets offered by the Tote are many and varied. They include Win, Place, Exacta, Trifecta, Quadpot, Placepot, Jackpot, Scoop6 and Swinger. The first two of those are the most common of all race bets, picking a horse to come in first (Win) or to finish “in the money” (Place). The latter can refer to finishing second, third or even fourth, dependent upon how many runners there are in the race, which can be no fewer than five for this bet to be offered. For both Win and Place wagers, £2 is the betting minimum.

When a combination of Win-Place bets is made together, it is referred to as an “Each Way” bet. This type of wager yields a payout as long as the chosen horse finishes in the money, regardless of running order. A minimum £2 bet is required, with £1 on Win and £1 on Place.

To be successful with an Exacta bet requires choosing a race’s top two horses in order. The Trifecta bet is similar, requiring the selection of all three of the top runners in the correct order. Once more, the minimum for such wagers is £2.

The wager known as the Tote Quadpot is offered at U.K. racecourses only once at each meeting. The bettor must pick horses in each of four races, from the third to the sixth race, inclusive. Each selection must finish in the money as described by the placing rules in order to receive a payout. For this type of bet, the minimum wager is only 10p.

Those who wish to make a Tote Placepot wager must select one horse from each of the first six events on the day’s race card. The payouts are calculated just as they are for the Quadpot, and the minimum wager is just 5p. Two variations are also offered: the Tote Jackpot and Scoop6. Each of them requires picking all six winners. Scoop6 is available only at Saturday fixtures, when television coverage is greatest and large payouts can be awarded.

The bet known as the Tote Swinger is an exotic wager that’s offered only in conjunction with races that feature six or more runners. In order to win, the bettor has to pick two horses to finish first, second or third in any order. Payouts are made for various winning combinations, such as 1st-2nd, 1st-3rd or 2nd-3rd. The minimum wager required is just 10p online or 50p trackside.

For all of these types of Tote wagers, payout amounts are determined by the computer using the pari-mutuel system to allocate funds. The more winning tickets are issued, the lower the payouts are. Conversely, the fewer the number of winners, the bigger the gains per winner are.

Published on: 19/08/2011 © Bet Bind