How Does Tote Betting Work?

How Does Tote Betting Work? Pool Betting Explained

So How Does Tote Betting Work? The Tote is the UK & Ireland’s best-known pool betting service for horse racing and football.

Pool betting put simply is adding up all the money placed on a market and then sharing it between the punters who have picked a winner or a winning combination.

Pool betting differs because the prices given are based on how many people are likely to be paid out on that selection should it win, whereas fixed odds betting (standard betting) is a more simple procedure of a guaranteed amount of winnings or starting price.

Totaliser which was an early computer of sorts is where Tote gets its name from, designed in the early 20th century and used to add up the number and value of bets on a race.

The UK Tote was introduced in 1928 as a state-owned bookmaker by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time, Winston Churchill, for many years, was the UK’s sole pool betting operator, before being sold to private operators in 2011.

Tote Ireland is owned by the Irish industry’s governing body, Horse Racing Ireland.

How Do Tote Odds Work

How does tote betting work when it comes to the odds, The Tote differs markedly from betting with a satchel bookie or on-course bookmakers in the way that it generates odds.

Though many punters out there believe that odds represent the likelihood of an outcome winning, this is not always the case.

This is one reason odds are also known as ‘prices’ – though they are usually reflective of a chance of something occurring to some extent, they are not in fact true odds at all.

The only thing they indicate precisely is the pay-out you will receive should your bet win, they show what it would cost you to win back a certain amount if you win.

Odds are in the control of the bookmakers who can manually adjust prices in order to try to lock in a profit on the race overall by betting and laying on horses with punters (fixed odds betting).

The Tote differs in that it makes its money via a tax or commission on bets that are placed instead of backing results itself as a bookmaker does.

This makes the odds tentatively fairer on the Tote than that of a bookmaker, this is because the price offered is based on the amount of money in the pool that has been staked on each result.

Tote Now Matches SP with Tote Guarantee

How does tote betting work with best odds or Sp betting you may ask, well this is where there is a fantastic twist for you the punter.

The Tote now matches the SP on any win market bet Because the way Tote odds are calculated is different from betting with a bookie, your winnings will also be different. Sometimes, where a winner has been very popular, the Tote dividend will be less than what the bookmakers pay out if you struck a bet at the race off and took SP.

With Tote’s guarantee, they will boost any win market bet to match SP, this guarantee applies to all UK 7 days a week including Northern Irish courses like Downpatrick, the only courses it’s not available are courses operated by Tote Ireland.

The max stake is £500 to be eligible for the Tote Guarantee. You can view the full terms and conditions for Tote Guarantee here.

Placing Your Bet At The Tote

As every bet placed on a horse affects the overall pot, odds at the Tote are constantly on the move, which is very much like betting on a betting exchange like Betfair.

Usually, the odds are very similar for that of favourites, but as fewer people are backing the outsider son the Tote the odds for these horses can be larger in general than that at a fixed odds bookmaker.

You could say that you can find more value in horses that are not at the head of the market with the tote.

The number of places available for a race is shown at the top of the page of runners. Alongside the Totewin and Toteplace pay-out figures, which you’ll see circled in red on the right (these are the total pay-outs you’d receive per pound you bet, and include your returned stake). You’ll also see the ‘Guide’ price, which reflects the general industry price for that horse to win.

One other thing to bear in mind would be how the odds are shown. Like on the Betfair Exchange, for example, you will see decimal odds rather than fractional odds.

Very simply, these odds reflect your total return (including your returned stake), in decimal format.

For example, 4/1 would be expressed as 5 or 5.0 (£4 profit plus £1 returned stake, for every £1 wagered), and 7/2 would be expressed as 4.5 (7/2 is effectively 3 ½  to 1. So 4.5 indicates £3.50 profit plus £1 returned stake, for every £1 staked).

Tote Bet Types

Totewin and Toteplace are the most common and easiest bets to place at the Tote but they also offer the following exotic bets…

• Toteexacta (Forecast betting on 2 horses must finish 1st and 2nd)

• Totetrifecta (Tricast betting on 3 horses must finish 1st 2nd and 3rd)

• Toteswinger (The Tote Swinger is a great bet if you think two horses will run well in a race. If they both finish in the first three, you’ll win a share of the pool.)

• Totejackpot (The Tote Jackpot bet is a horse racing pool bet you must pick 6 winners in the first 6 races, and returns can be humungous)

• Totequadpot (The Tote Quadpot is a popular pool bet in which players must pick a horse to place in races 3, 4, 5, and 6 at a race meeting in order to win a share of the Tote Quadpot dividend)

• Totescoop6 (The Tote Scoop 6 is a Saturday horse racing pool bet where you try to pick the winner of six specified races to win either the entire pool or a share of it if there are multiple winners.)

• Toteplacepot (Tote Placepot is a pool bet where you need to pick a horse to place in the first six races at any UK, Irish, or selected international meeting in order to win a share of the dividend.)

How Does Tote Betting Work With Each way?

There is no each-way betting on the Tote however, there is win and place betting so all you would need to do is place a separate win and place bet on the same horse to get a bet which is basically the same as an each-way bet.


The Tote if you are betting on a course is a very good choice, especially with the Tote guarantee we mentioned, it gives you the best chance of getting the best value odds, and placing a bet at the Tote is as simple as placing a bet with a bookmaker.

Thanks for reading our how does tote betting work betting guide we hope it helped you out if it did please share it with friends and family on social media.

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