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Tote Betting: What It is and How Does it Work?

Betting on the Tote differs from the traditional type of bet placed with a bookmaker and is known as ‘pool betting’ which works in a similar way to the National Lottery. Tote betting places your stake into a pool with other punters’ bets.

Betting on The Tote Explained - How Does it Work?

The operator takes a percentage of the fund and the rest of the pool is shared out equally between those who placed the winning bet. The odds are determined by how many people have selected that horse and the payout is known as a dividend.

Pool betting at the majority of racecourses is operated by the Tote however a number of independent operators now run pool betting at specific racecourses e.g. Bet With Ascot.

Below we look at the different types of pool bets.

Where Can I Find the Tote?

You will find the Tote at most racecourses. You can place a bet at a Tote stand or on some occasions with representatives - usually in hospitality areas. Tote operators are situated within the stands rather than down on the rails with traditional bookmakers.

The Tote also offers online betting and an array of excellent new customers offers, free placepots and existing customer bets.

Tote vs Fixed Odds

Some punters favour pool betting as a small stake of £2 can result in huge dividends if your predictions are successful, particularly for lesser fancied horses. Pool betting is very popular internationally particularly in Hong Kong and is available in the UK, Ireland, France, the US and South Africa, among others.

A further reason why some punters may prefer the Tote for betting purposes is that you in the UK the Tote guarantee ensures you will always be paid out at the higher starting price, resulting in greater rewards.

Types of Tote Bets Explained

  • Win

    The win bet allows you pick your horse and place your bet for a straight win. The minimum bet is £2. If you bet £2 at a tote dividend of 10.0, you will win £2 x 10.00 = £20.00, this includes your £2 stake.

    The odds are displayed in decimals for easier calculations than traditional fractional odds and your stake is included in your return.

    This type of bet is different from fixed odds offered by bookmakers as the return is not fully known until the race is over and the pool is divided between punters.

  • Place

    The place bet is when you pick a horse to finish either 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th depending on how many horses line up. Place bets are valid races in which there are five or more runners. Three places can be selected if there are 8 or more horses in the race and four or more places when there are 8 or more horses in a handicap race.

    This type of bet increases your chances of success although the pool is split between more winners and therefore dividends are less than a win bet.

    The minimum stake for a place bet is £2.

  • Each way

    This bet is very similar to the each way bet placed with bookmakers. The win and place bet are placed together.

    The minimum stake for an each way bet is £2 and can only be placed in a race with five or more runners.

  • Exacta and Reverse Exacta

    This bet is when you select two horses to finish 1st and 2nd in a race. The same as a traditional forecast.

    For a straight exacta you select two horses to finish 1st and 2nd in that order. There must be three or more runners in the race and the minimum stake is £2.

    A reverse exacta is when you choose two horses to finish 1st and 2nd in any order. As you are choosing two outcomes and therefore placing two bets, this doubles your stake. For example, you place a £1 reverse exacta so the bet will equal the minimum stake of £2.

  • Trifecta and Reverse Trifecta

    A trifecta is when you select three horses to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a race with eight or more runners.

    For a straight trifecta you select three horses to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in that order and the minimum stake is £2.

    A reverse trifecta is when you choose three horses to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in any order. This consists of six bets so a £1 reverse trifecta will cost you £6. Alternatively, you can place a 35p reverse trifecta which totals £2.10.

  • Swinger

    A swinger is when you pick two horses to finish in the first three in a race in any order. There must be a total of six horses in the race to place this type of bet.

  • Placepot

    This is one of the more popular types of pool betting, the placepot allows you to choose a horse to place in each of the first six races at a particular meeting. This bet must be placed before the racing starts.

    As with the above, three places are paid if there are eight or more runners in the race. If a race has four or fewer runners then your horse must win.

    You may choose to do ‘perm betting’ where you can pick more than one horse in a race. This is calculated by multiplying the number of selections in each race then multiplying this number by your stake.

  • E.g. if you choose 2 horses in each race and place a £2 stake:
  • Number of selections: 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 64
  • £2 (stake) x 64 (selections) = £128

    The bet can be placed with any bookmaker or online.

  • Jackpot

    This bet also requires you to select a horse in each of the first six races on the card and each horse must win. This is only available at one meeting per day rather than every meeting. If the prize pot is not won, it will roll over the next day so potential dividends can be huge.

    Perm betting is also allowed and this works in the same way as the placepot.

    The bet can be placed with any bookmaker or online.

  • Quadpot

    The quadpot enables you choose four horses instead of six to win the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th races on the card. The quadpot can be placed at any meeting rather than just one.

    It is also possible to make it a perm bet as explained above and the bet can be placed at any bookmakers or online. Returns tend to be lower than a placepot.

  • Scoop6

    You must pick all six horses to win the Scoop6 races selected by the operator each Saturday. Of course it comprises the most devilishly difficult races across different tracks but the reward can be huge. This type of bet is exclusive to the UK.

    The minimum stake for the Scoop6 is £2. You are able to choose a perm bet but as shown above this can become very expensive.

    If the Scoop6 is not won it will roll over to the next week.

    The betting pool is split into three separate funds — the win, bonus and place funds.

    All win fund players can enter for the bonus fund the following week. The bonus is won by picking the winner of the selected bonus race.

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More Reading

For more information on types of bets and betting terminology see below: