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Tote Betting – All The Info For Betting On The Horse Racing Totalisator Pools

Zuletzt aktualisiert & geprüft: 29.08.2021

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Ever wondered what is tote betting? It all started with the forerunner of the Horserace Totalisator Board in 1929 which had strong backing from future UK prime minister Winston Churchill. That great statesman also loved his horses and sought to establish a safe alternative to then illegal off-track bookmakers at racecourses that was controlled by the state. A portion of the money from tote betting went back into the sport.


The Racehorse Betting Control Board as it was then known began in 1928 when created by an act of parliament, and the first instances of the Tote were seen the following July at Newmarket and Carlisle. British law allows them the organisation to control pool betting in the UK and privatisation followed during the 2000s with Betfred bidding for and winning the franchise, but alternatives are now being opened up like Britbet. The types of wager that are put into the pool are called pari-mutuel betting. There are pros and cons to using the Tote which we’ll look at more detail below…


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Pros and cons of pari-mutuel betting on the Tote


Tote Betting - All The Info For Betting On The Horse Racing Totalisator Pools


If you play horse racing pools like the Sccop6 or a placepot, then winning tickets can garner huge returns. The likelihood of picking six horses in televised races or events specified by the Tote that win (and/or place in the case of the latter) is so small that the cumulative odds on offer are massive. Other ways of increasing your winnings on tote betting include taking punts on an exacta (or forecasts) or a trifecta (or tricast). Those are wagers on the same race where you make two or three selections and state which horses will finish first and second, or first, second and third in a specific order.


The clear positives are the reward for the degree of difficulty related to these bets. However, it is very often the case that the payout you receive via the totalisator are smaller than regular fixed odds prices. This is because all winners are paid out from the same pool and that dictates your returns rather than the bookmakers’ starting price. It makes placing individual single bets on the Tote something we advise against. Backing a hot favourite will do you no good because many other users of tote betting are likely to have it, and it’s when you put individual wagers on that you notice poor value. Getting a winning placepot or Scoop6 somewhat shields the smaller individual odds because they are multiplied together.


Major horse racing festivals a good time to bet on the Tote


Now you know what is tote betting, we can go further and give advice on when it can work best for you. An average day’s horse racing simply doesn’t garner enough interest for there to be a lot of liquidity in this form of gambling. In short, pari-mutuel betting can only be rewarding when the pool is large. You are much more likely to find that the totalisator pays more consistently near the fixed odds starting prices of bookmakers during major events in horse racing. Good examples of this are the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National day at Aintree and Royal Ascot. These horse racing galas attracted the best jumps and Flat thoroughbreds because of the huge prize money on offer. That in turn exponentially increases the number of players involved in tote betting as the events garner mainstream attention wider than the regular gambling community.


Such occasions are the perfect time to get your bets on with the Tote as the pool of money will be larger as a result. Be warned though, there are no guarantees except for the minimum payout being £1.10 (the equivalent of 1/10 in fixed odds betting) on all races. Hot favourites may still be returned on the Tote at what works out a worse price than those at other bookmakers. The best way to make this pari-mutuel betting work for you is to look at handicaps and find something you fancy that is a value each-way bet in a placepot. A lot of studying and a strong understanding of the handicapping system is needed, however. The thing you need to be most mindful of is pool betting is always dictated by how many other punters are in it besides you!


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