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Tote betting

The Tote (Who offer Tote betting) is the only bookmakers in the UK who are allowed to offer what is known as ‘parimutuel’ betting. This term comes from the French, and means “mutual betting”. It differs from normal “odds” betting is that all bets are gathered together in a central pool. Once a “house percentage” is taken off, the pool is then divided between all winners of the bet.

The “Tote” is short for the “Horserace Totalisator Board” who are a UK bookmaker with head offices in Wigan, and who have been around since 1928 when they were created by the UK government to provide a safe means of gambling on horse races. Eventually, the Tote was privatised and sold to BetFred.

Which Betting Company Offers Tote Betting?

Tote betting advertisementFor over eighty years, the Tote was the only bookmakers where Tote betting was available. In 2011, the privatisation of the Tote was completed and it was sold to BetFred, who now administer it. You can place Tote bets with other bookmakers who will then pass your bet to the Tote. Some other bookmakers will allow you to make “Tote” bets that pay out on exactly the same terms as the Tote itself.

There are several types of Tote bet available. Some examples are:

Tote Win – this is the simplest bet. You pick a horse to win, and if it does, you win a share of the pot. Minimum bet is £1.

Tote Place – You pick a horse to place. There must be a minimum of five riders for a place bet to be available. If the horse places, you win a share of the pot. The minimum place bet is £2.

Each Way betting – A combination of a Tote Win and a Tote Place bet.

Tote Exacta – A bet that is a little more involved. This is the same as a forecast bet at a normal bookmaker. You are required to pick the horses that will finish first and second in a race.

There are several types of Tote betting options: Trifecta (pick first three horses), Quadpot (pick horses in four separate races that will place), Placepot (pick horses in six separate races that place), Jackpot (pick the first six winners at one race meeting), Scoop 6 (same as Jackpot but for televised meetings) and Toteswinger (pick two horses to finish in the first three).

Is Tote Betting Right For Me?

Tote betting is often thought of being for beginners only, or for people who don’t spend hours pouring over the racing pages. It’s a very simple way to bet. You pick a race, and a horse, and make your wager in multiples of £1. You get a ticket (or if betting online a virtual ticket) and if your horse wins, then so do you.

Figures about returns from Tote betting might actually surprise some people. On average, a Tote Win dividend is on average 25% better than the winnings obtained by betting on a horse’s starting price. In addition, the Tote outperforms starting prices 70% of the time for winners with odds that are 7/1 or better.

One final advantage – Tote betting is just about horse-racing. If you use the Tote website, you are not bombarded by options for football, boxing, cricket betting or even casino games. It’s horses and horses only.


Tote betting serves both as a great introduction to the world of horse racing gambling, as well as being a convenient place for the casual gambler to go. If you fit into either of these categories, then Tote Betting should appeal.