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How Does Tote Betting Work?

Learn what tote betting is: how to calculate your potential winnings by placing a tote bet, what types of tote bets are, about odds, and more.

Published on 19 Jan 2023

How Do Odds Work on the Tote?

The main difference between what you see on the Tote and when you visit a betting shop is that the former uses decimal odds rather than fancies.

Using an illustration is the simplest approach to demonstrate this: say you’ve got a race with three runners, one of whom has been given odds of 10/1 (ten to one). This means that if you were to bet £10 on that runner winning, then if it did win, you’d receive £100 in return. That’s because 10 multiplied by one equals ten.

While this might seem like simple math, many people find decimals hard – especially those who don’t do any severe mathematical calculations in their day-to-day lives.

Placing a Bet on the Tote

The Tote is a betting system used in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The word “Tote” is an abbreviation for totalisator, which is a French word meaning “total amount of money wagered” or “total payout”.

In this case, it refers to the total amounts of money being gambled on horse races at any given time by people who have placed bets through their local Tote branch.

The Tote system allows you to place your bet as soon as you see a race start on TV or online and then collect your winnings when the race finishes.

With fixed odds betting systems like win/place/show and trifecta wagering available for racing fans everywhere (and now with fixed odds American football), you can get involved in some action-packed sports betting fun today.

Betting on Singles vs Multiples on the Tote

A bet on a single selection is called a ‘single’, the most common way to bet.

Multiple bets are also prevalent. These bets cover more than one selection and payout at odds of 2/1, 3/1 and 4/1, respectively (this means you will win £2 for every £1 wagered if your multiple comes in).

As we’ve seen, pricing shows how much you’ll be paid for every pound wagered when betting with fixed-odds bookmakers.

The odds indicate the potential payout, or “dividend,” for every pound wagered on each horse, and the same is true for placing single bets on the Tote, whether a ToteWin or a TotePlace chance.

Even though the odds may alter up until the start of the race, they can at least provide a rough estimate of the price at which a horse is likely to start and the potential payout.

In this regard, we can conceptualize the odds for Tote singles as operating similarly to the odds for regular.

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How Does Each-Way Betting Work on the Tote?

Each-way betting is a variation of the bet you place. You’re betting on two outcomes; your stake is returned if either occurs.

To make an each-way bet, you must know the odds for each outcome; then multiply those by your desired stake to get your total wager (in pounds). Once this is done, divide that by two and place it on one ticket for each outcome.

So if we want to place £20 on an event with four horses in it (as above), our calculation would look like this:

  • The odds for winning are 4/1 so we multiply that by 20, which gives us 80p
  • Then divide 80 by 2 and get 40p (meaning we have placed £20 worth)

What Are The Tote Bet Types?

  • Win Bet

A win bet allows you to choose a horse and place a bet on its victory. The minimum bet is $2. If you wager $2 at a dividend (value per unit bet) of a totalizator of 10.0, you will win $2 x 10.00 = $20.00 including your $2 bet.

  • Place Bet

A place bet is when you pick a horse that will finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th depending on the number of horses in the order. Place bets are valid for races with five or more horses. Three places can be selected if there are 8 or more horses in a race, and four or more places if there are 8 or more horses in a handicap race.

  • Show Bet

This bet is that you choose two horses to finish 1st and 2nd in a race. In the case of an exact bet in a tote, you pick two horses that will finish 1st and 2nd in exact order. The race must have three or more runners, and the minimum bet is $2.

  • Trifecta and Reverse Trifecta Stakes

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

A reverse trifecta is when you choose three horses to finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in any order. It consists of six bets, so a reverse trifecta for $1 will cost you $6. Alternatively, you can make the reverse trifecta for 35 cents, which is $2.10.

  • Swinger Bet

It is a bet on two horses finishing first in a race, in any order. In races with six or more entries, stakes are accepted on the choice of two horses to finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.

  • Placepot Bet Type

This is one of the most popular types of tote bets. The Placepot allows you to select a horse to bet on each of the first six races. This bet must be placed before the start of the race.

For example, if you pick two horses in each race and bet $2:

  • Number of predictions: 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 64
  • $2 (bet) x 64 (predictions) = $128
  • Jackpot Bet

This bet requires picking a horse in the first six races, and each horse must win. This bet is only available on one tournament per day. If the prize pool is not won, it rolls over to the next day so that the potential payouts can be huge.

  • Quadpot Wagger

This bet type allows you to choose four horses instead of six to win races 3, 4, 5, and 6. Quadpot can be wagered on any race, not just one.

  • Scoop6 Stake

You must pick all six horses to win the races selected by the bookmaker every Saturday. Of course, these should be the most challenging races on different tracks, but the reward will be appropriate. This type of betting is valid only in the UK.

All winning players can participate in the bonus pool next week. The bonus is won by determining the winner of the selected bonus race.

If you have made a winning bet, your dividend is determined by the percentage of money in the tote that was wagered on your choice. The smaller the percentage of winners in the bet on the winner, the greater the share of the winning units.

The tote has been around for almost a hundred years. Still, there are some similarities to modern sports betting, as the participants in the tote wagering against each other.

But the tote differs from regular bets in that your chance goes precisely to the tote. Here all the money wagered on the races or the meeting is combined and paid back, minus the costs of running expenses and deductions in favor of the bookmakers.

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