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Tote Betting Explained

Author: Sylvia Garcia

In Tote, Pool or Pari-Mutuel betting, all of the stakes are totaled up and then a house percentage is removed from the total. The remaining pool is then split between the winning wagers. The dividend pays less on the most popular horses as they attract the most money, and there are more winning tickets to pay if a favorite wins. If an outsider wins, then the odds or dividends paid are large as there were less people wagering on that selection.

Tote betting is often run by a government-owned sportsbook, sometimes called The Tote. Pari-Mutuel means exactly the same thing. The term is the French translation for Tote betting. Tote betting is offered as an alternative to the traditional pricing of Horse Racing, i.e. 4/1, 9/4, etc. In this particular type of betting, all bets of a certain type are placed together in a pool. Odds are calculated by dividing this pool amongst all the winning bets to determine a ‘dividend’. The dividend is then paid to each of the winning bet receipts accordingly. The term Pool betting is more descriptive and explains the process in a nutshell.

General Tote Betting Rules

  • All totepool bets are placed directly into the live Tote pools.

  • If the bets do not reach the pools, customers will have their money refunded.

  • All points that are not included in the rules stated will be governed by the totepool on course rules.

  • If the racecard number of an overnight declared runner is allocated to a reserve horse, the reserve horse will be re-numbered sequentially in line with tote racecourse cash rules.

  • If a totepool race is a walkover, is not run or is declared void, the pool(s) will operate on the remaining specified tote races. In this event total stakes on permutation entries are applied in full to the remaining races.

  • Any bets placed on a non-runner will be replaced by the Starting Price favorite. Where there are joint favorites, the joint favorite with the lowest racecard number will be taken. If the favorite is withdrawn before coming under Starters Orders and too late for a new favorite to be made, the horse returned at the next shortest price will be taken. Where two or more horses are returned at the next shortest price, the one with the lowest racecard number will be taken. If no Starting Price is returned the first actual runner quoted in the Racing Post betting forecast will be taken. Should the Racing Post not publish a betting forecast, settlement will be made in line with Tote Racecourse Cash Rules.

  • In the event of a pool being cancelled bets for the pool concerned will be void.
While the terms will change depending on the country you are in, the bet types will generally remain the same. For all of the types of Tote wagers offered, payouts are determined by a computer using the pari-mutuel system to allocate funds. The more winning tickets that are issued, the lower the payouts are. However, the fewer the number of winners, the bigger the payouts are per winner.