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Tote Betting

The early years of horse race betting was plagued by fraud and unfair odds. Simply making horse race betting illegal did not solve the problem of corrupt bookmakers. Horse race betting was so popular that people would go to “bookies” to place bets, which even today have a bad reputation for unfair odds.

What is The Tote?

The British government’s solution to this problem was to create a government sanctioned bookmaker. In 1928 an act of Parliament created The Tote. The object of this board was to create a safe and fair environment for bettors to bet on horse racing. The Tote is the only bookmaker legally allowed to offer parimutuel betting in the UK. Other bettors may accept bets on behalf of the Tote, or take bets that use the Tote’s predetermined odds.

Why is The Tote good for bettors?

Other betting operations may take bets and create their own odds, however they are only allowed to offer fixed odds. These odds are predetermined, and when placing your bet you are aware exactly of the odds, and the expected payout should your wager be correct.

The Tote offers parimutuel betting, which is extremely popular. The benefit of parimutuel betting is the same as it’s downfall. The odds change, depending on the bets laid. One horse may be expected to be the favourite but if lots of people bet on a different horse, the favorite can change. This type of betting can offer a great profit margin if the odds of your horse change in your favor. The downfall of this type of betting is that fixed odds offer a guaranteed payout.

Bets offered by The Tote

These bets have a minimum bet of £2
Tote Win– This bet pays out if the selected horse comes in first place.
Tote Place– This bet pays out of the selected horse comes in second, third, or fourth depending on the race. Not all bookmakers will offer this bet and it’s only available on races with a minimum of 5 horses racing.
Each-Way– This bet is a combination bet, combining a £1 Win and a £1 Place bet. This bet is considered by many to be foolish as you can never win both bets.
Tote Exacta– This bet is typically referred to as the “straight forecast” in the UK. The Exacta requires choosing the first and second place in correct order.
Tote Trifecta – This bet requires choosing the horses who come in first, second and third in exact order.
Tote Swinger – This bet is like the Trifecta, however as long as you get two horses correct you will still win. There are different payouts for different outcomes.

These bets have different minimum bet values:
Tote Quadpot – This bet has a minimum wager of 10p. The object is to pick the second place horse in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth races of the day. There is an option to select the race favourite instead of choosing a horse.
Tote Placepot – This bet is very similar to the Quadpot except you are betting on the first six races and the minimum wager is only 5p.
Tote Jackpot – This bet is identical to the Placepot, however the minimum bet is £1 and you are choosing the winning horse instead of the second place horse.
Tote Scoop6 – This bet is only available on Saturdays. It is identical to the Jackpot, however it also pays out small amounts if your horses place instead of win. Very large payouts on this bet have been claimed, and there are only a limited number of tickets issued.