How have you heard about the Tote and asked yourself what is Tote betting? How does Tote betting work? Can I use a Tote betting calculator? Just what is the Tote, and is it any different to fixed odds betting?
Well, the Tote is a lot different to fixed odds betting, as it is the one of the very few remaining options for pool betting in the UK. This article will get Tote betting explained, with the Tote betting meaning thoroughly deciphered. By the end of reading this, you’ll be able to work out if betting on the Tote is right for you.
While fixed odds betting is the dominant way of betting in the UK, there are other options such as exchange betting (at Betfair), spread betting (at Spreadex) and pool betting. Before we explain how does Tote betting work, let us explain what the Tote actually is.
The Tote has been around since 1928. It was set up by the UK government as a way of allowing people to bet on horse racing, but at racecourses only. The idea of the Tote as an example of pool betting is simple. All money from multiple bettors on a Tote bet is pooled. After the Tote have taken a commission (currently 27 percent), the pool is shared out among all winning bets on a stake/share basis – this means that someone who bet £2 will receive twice the share as someone who bet £1, and so on.
Eventually the Tote spread to licensed betting shops and then online. In 2011 the UK government decided to privatise the Tote, selling it to Betfred for £265 million. Betfred’s ownership of the Tote only lasted eight years though. They sold it to a new private company led by billionaire Michael Spencer, set up by a group of horse racing breeders and owners as the UK Tote Group in 2019 and rebranded from Alizeti Capital Limited.
Unlike fixed odds betting, you cannot make up your own bets with the Tote. Instead, you select from one of the many options available. The main Tote bets are all explained below:
The easiest way to place any kind of Tote bet is online at the Tote website. You can also place Tote bets at nearly all UK betting shops via Tote Direct, or at a UK racecourse. We are now going to run through the placement of a Tote bet, placing a Placepot bet at the Tote online site.
We already had a Tote account, so if you don’t you will need to set one up which is fairly painless. Once you have an account set up, head to the ‘Placepot’ option.
There will be plenty of options for the placement of your Placepot bet. Each Placepot covers the first six meetings at UK and Irish meetings. Choose the meeting where you want to place your Placepot bet, and the six available legs of the Placepot will be shown to you:
Go through each leg and select a horse you think will at least place. The number of places (usually between two and four) will be indicated via the information for each race.
You need to select at least one horse from each leg. If you select more than one horse, then this qualifies as a multiple Placepot bet. The amount of Placepots legs you place depends upon how many horses in each race you select. For example, if you choose one horse in three races, two horses in two and three horses in one, then that is 1 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 3 = 12 Placepot legs. It is possible for more than one of your legs to win of course, as multiple horses can place.
The minimum stake per leg or line is £0.01. However, the minimum overall stake for your Placebot bet must be in excess of £0.50 or £1, depending upon the meeting. Therefore, if you have a dozen legs, your minimum unit stake must be £0.05. If it was £0.04 your overall stake would be £0.48 – not enough for the £0.50 threshold.
Once set up, hit the ‘place bet’ to place your bet.
Unlike fixed odds betting, you cannot work out potential winnings for the Tote as you will not know the size of the pool until all bets are in. Most Tote bets have a minimum pool (for the Placepot it is £25,000). however, the final pool may be much greater than that. Remember that 27 percent is deducted from all pools by the Tote, and the rest is shared out as the prize pool.
Any winnings are worked out on a £1 entry share basis. For example, say the prize pool is £40,000 and £400 was wagered by winning entrants – on a £1 entry share basis, that’s £100 per £1 share.
But what if your winning line cost you £0.25, and not £1? In that case, your winning share is £25. You’d win on the same basis if you had multiple winning lines, so if you had five winning lines and your unit stake was £0.25, you’d win £125.
You really don’t need to worry about calculating your Tote bet returns as the Tote will calculate everything immediately after the final race in any Tote bet is run. Remember though, if you struggle with betting calculations for fixed odds bets, our excellent bet calculators are available for you to use.
So, what are the best betting strategies for the Tote, and how do they differ from fixed odds betting strategies? Our betting experts have picked out a trio of strategies you might like to consider when betting on the Tote.
The majority of your Tote bets will be placed at the Tote sports betting site. This site offers the full range of Tote betting options on horse racing. You can also bet, pool-style, on football at the Tote betting site. The site also has fantasy horse racing, virtual horse racing, the ‘Ten to Follow’ season-long flat race competition and a small range of slots and table games.
You can bet on the Tote at a few other sites thanks to ‘Tote Direct’, a network that allows access to the Tote via non-Tote sites. William Hill, Betfred and SkyBet are all partnered with the Tote via Tote Direct.
If you are not satisfied with the returns your winning bets are generating via fixed odds betting sites, then why not give the Tote a try-out instead? The Tote offers pool betting – a different way of betting where all stakes are pooled and then shared out among the winners, which is how does Tote betting works. This means that on some occasions you’ll win more betting on the Tote than on fixed odds, but on some occasions you won’t.
Now you have had the Tote meaning explained, why not take a look at the Tote betting site? Review the types of Tote betting options that are available, and see if Tote betting online is right for you. Always remember though to ‘totes’ gamble responsibly.
Tote betting is Tote pool betting – all stakes are pooled, a commission is removed and then the remaining pool is shared out on a pro-rata basis to all those who backed the winner.
Yes, Tote betting is UK owned. It is owned by the UK Tote Group Limited, a company based in London in the UK.
No, greyhound Tote betting does not exist. Tote betting is only available on horse racing and, to a much lesser extent, football.
Yes, there are plenty of different types of Tote betting options. ‘Placepot’ is the most popular option where bettors have to select a minimum of six horses from the first six races at a specific UK or Ireland race meeting. Anyone who selects a placed horse in each of the six races receives a pro-rata share of the prize pool.
Tote betting online is the easiest way of accessing the Tote betting pool, but you can also bet on the Tote at a high number of UK betting shops, and the majority of UK racecourses.