Betting on horses is one of the favourite activities in Britain. Logically, there are a lot of options to do that. Along with traditional and fixed-odds betting, Tote is another popular betting option, which comes in various forms. Read on to learn more about Tote betting and how it works.
What is Tote betting?
Tote betting or “the Tote” is a form of horse racing betting with one joint pool prize. This means that bettors put their stakes together to form one pool, and after the race finishes, each one who bet on a winner gets a share of the pooled money. This practice is also referred to as betting in a pool or parimutuel betting.
Unlike betting with fixed odds, betting with the Tote involves having a cumulative pool prize. With this method, you are not betting against the bookie but the other bettors instead.
If you ever bet on horses in the UK, there’s a good chance you would have at least heard about Tote bets. The Tote is an authentic UK form of betting, and it is almost a century old. The system was first created in Wigan way back in 1928, and it was back then owned and regulated by the UK government. After the First World War, horse racing became very popular in the UK. However, the gambling market was not organized, and there were a lot of illegal horse racing events with fixed races. With the support of Winston Churchill, the government established the Tote to regulate horse racing.
Now, we need to clear up some things. The term “Tote” is used for both the first bookmaker from Wigan to introduce this betting style to the world and the actual betting type itself. The Tote was government-owned until 2011 when it was acquired by Betfred. The business was later sold to the UK Tote Group in 2019, but the Tote betting system itself never changed.
How does the Tote work?
Betting on the Tote means that a bettor puts a stake in a cumulative pool. Every bettor picks a horse to bet on, places a bet, and everyone who wins shares a percentage of the prize.
All the money that’s put on the race is combined and shared after the race is over. Of course, Totepool betting also has to make deductions to cover the costs of the organization.
After the deductions are made, the rest of the Tote pool is divided by the number of the winning bets (or units) so that the betting service can calculate a dividend. The dividend is then used as a payout for all the bet winners.
If the bet you made wins a race, the size of your dividend is calculated based on the percentage of the total bets staked on your selection. To put it simply: the fewer people wager on the winning horse, the greater the winnings for those who manage to guess the winner correctly.
Types of Tote bets
If you want to bet on the Tote, first, you need to learn something about the different types of bets this betting system offers. We will start with the simplest one – the Tote win.
The Tote win is the most commonly used type of betting on horses. If you choose this option, you are backing one particular horse in the race to win. You can choose a race favourite, one that had the best performances in the last few races, or a complete outsider – it’s up to you. If your horse wins the race, you’ll automatically become eligible for sharing the pool prize with the other lucky winners.
While Tote win is a great option for more experienced bettors, place bets are better for those who are new to Tote horse racing bets. Place bets are less risky since you don’t need to bet on a specific horse to win. The horse you picked has to place in the race. The number of horses participating in the race determines the number of places. For example, if there are between five and seven runners, a horse you backed will “place” if it reaches one of the top two positions in the race.
The Tote also includes more complex betting types, like the Tote Exacta and Tote Trifecta. When it comes to the Exacta, bettors need to choose the horses that will come first and second. The Trifecta means that a bettor picks horses that finish in first, second, and third place.
Although single bets are the most common, Tote racing bets include betting on multiple races. For example, you can bet on one horse to place in six races, which is called the Tote Placepot.
Placing a Tote bet
Before you place a bet on horse racing, you need to choose one or more runners that you want to bet on. How to know who will win? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, and the winning formula is more a mix of experience and luck than anything solid and foolproof.
That being said, all the best Tote punters know that they are betting against like-minded bettors and not a bookie. Every good Tote betting guide should mention that this betting style requires a bit of psychology, too.
Although you cannot know the value of the horse you want to bet on before the race is finished, you can see predictions based on the projected dividends. That’s how experienced bettors choose their favorites in horse races.
Of course, there are other things that most successful bettors also keep in mind, such as the horse’s previous performances and their pedigree.
Some punters prefer to hear veteran tipsters’ advice before making a decision. It is important to listen to the opinion of experienced bettors, but you also need to possess some basic knowledge about horse racing before you get into this type of betting seriously. Good betting sites can also be a helpful resource when you’re still learning the ropes, as they often have useful guides that can help you get started.
Tote betting vs. fixed odds
Tote bookmakers are different from bookmakers that offer fixed odds. They calculate payouts only after the race is finished and when the number of winners is known. In betting with fixed odds, a winner gets paid based on the odds determined before the race.
As its name implies, fixed odds are odds set before you even place your bet and before the race starts. Although they can change during the race, you’ll still get a guaranteed payout if you made a timely bet.
With a Tote or parimutuel bet, there are no guaranteed odds. Some odds are displayed before you make a stake, but those approximate the potential payout. The prediction can change during the race, too.