The Tote is one of the oldest betting formats that is used, having been established since 1928. It was government owned for most of its life before being bought out by betting giants Betfred in 2011. The company has one of the largest fleets of high street betting shops in the country, amassing over 500 throughout the UK.
The company was historically focused on horse racing, although it has now branched out to other areas. Its unique selling point when compared to other bookmakers is its Totepool which allows punters to back horses with the money entering a pool, before then being paid out as a dividend. Many compare this form of betting to the lottery, where the money is first combined and then distributed among the winners.
There are 9 different Totepool bets, all of which offer something a little bit different. Let’s take a run through the format of each:
Probably the simplest and most popular form of tote betting is the Tote Win. You have to select which horse will win in order to collect your dividend of the prize pool. This form of betting can offer up to 7% higher odds than taking traditional bookmakers starting odds.
The Tote Place is similar to each way betting. The race must have at least 5 horses running to qualify, and the number of horses running will dictate on how many places are paid out; 5, 6 or 7 runners will pay out 2 places; 8 or more will pay out on 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed, and 16+ runners will pay out on 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
The Tote Exacta is the same as doing a straight forecast and essentially is picking which horses will finish first and second in the correct order. There are three variables to this bet which include:
- Straight Exacta – Choose the correct order for the horses finishing first and second.
- Banker Exacta – Choose which horse you think will win, then as many selections as you like as to which you think will finish second. The more you horses you pick the more you will have to bet.
- Combination Exacta – Pick two horses to finish in first or second place but in any order.
The Scoop 6 is probably the highest profile of the Tote bets, and to stand a chance of winning you must select the winners of 6 races shown on terrestrial TV on a Saturday. Pay days for the Scoop 6 can be very lucrative and often run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Tote Place Pot
The place pot is another very popular Tote bet which requires punters to choose the placed horse from the first 6 races of any one meeting. Tote Place rules apply, and where there are fewer than 5 runners, the selected horse must win that race.
Tote Quad Pot
The Quad pot is very similar to the place pot, except punters are required to pick the placed horses from just 4 races rather than 6. The races are usually race 3-6.
The Tote Jackpot is essentially the week day Scoop6 and requires you to pick the first 6 winners at the nominated race meet. Rollovers do occur meaning prize pools can soar.
The Tote Trifecta says you have to choose the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed horse of a nominated race. The Trifecta is extremely tough, but as so few winners are matched pay-outs are often massive for a relatively small stake.
The Tote Swinger is another popular tote pool bet and requires you to pick two horses to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a nominated race. It essentially gives you three chances of winning as they can finish 1st and 2nd, 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 3rd, and you will still receive pay-outs.
Pros and Cons of Tote Betting versus Traditional Betting
Earlier in the article we compared Totepool betting to the lottery, and it rings true in more ways than one. It can be a bit of lottery when comparing it to betting with a more traditional bookmaker as you’re never really sure of what price you’re going to get, and therefore can’t compare odds.
On the other hand you open yourself up to potentially getting hugely inflated odds depending on how many people have contributed into the pot and the pay-outs on offer. The diverse nature of Totepool betting allows for so many variants of betting which keeps it fresh and entertaining. Once more, the massive exposure the Tote gets at racecourses around the UK opens up opportunity for the Tote to continue to grow and make those dream 7 figure paydays a reality.