Why bet on the tote?

Now we know what the tote is, the next question is why bet on the tote?

The answer to that is longer or shorter depending on where in the world you live, and on which events you want to bet.

First, the short answer. There are some countries, such as Hong Kong and France, where the tote has a monopoly on horse racing betting.

In other words, if you want to bet on racing in France or Hong Kong (and plenty of other nations), you can only bet with the tote. So it’s pretty straightforward in those cases!

However, in countries where there is a greater choice of wagering ‘market places’ (the tote is merely a facilitator, bringing people together who want to back their judgement on a given event: as such, it is a market place), then the reasons for betting on the tote are more varied.

Firstly, it should be said that the tote is not always the best place to bet. For example, in the UK, the tote win pools – that is, predicting which horse will win a race – and place pools – which horse(s) will place in a race – can be fairly small.

This leads them to being somewhat unpredictable in terms of the return, or dividend, winning players receive. However, the new company running Tote have mitigated for this by guaranteeing that players who bet through their website will be paid the better of SP or the tote Win dividend. In plain English, if you bet in the win pool on the Tote website and your selection wins, you will get paid at least the starting price. That promise is good for a stake of up to £500 (at time of writing – always check the latest terms).

It is not a good idea to bet on the tote if you like all of the most ‘obvious’ horses in the race or races you wish to play. For example, if you want to make an exacta bet – predicting the first and second in a race in the correct order – and you think the favourite will beat the second favourite, this is unlikely to pay a value dividend.

‘Value’ is when the return outweighs the likelihood, and the key to successful tote betting is wagering against the crowd. Being contrarian for the sake of it is plain daft, but horse racing is a lot more volatile and unpredictable than most people accept – certainly more so than they bet – and taking calculated chances against the crowd will, quite literally, pay handsome dividends.

The tote is an alternative to starting price for intra-race bets such as the exacta (SP version called computer straight forecast, or CSF, in UK) and trifecta (SP version called the tricast in UK), and generally pays a better return if you like at least one lesser-fancied horse.

A third reason for betting on the tote, and this is my favourite reason, is that they offer bets that are not available anywhere else, such as the Placepot, Jackpot, Quadpot, Placepot 7 and Scoop 6.

If you’re not aware of any of those bets, be sure and check the ‘Bet Types‘ page.

And a fourth reason for tote betting is the pool size. Now, although the amount wagered is almost always less than that wagered either with bookmakers or on the exchanges, there is very often a lot more ‘mug money’ (i.e. uninformed bets) in certain tote pools.

Click here to open a tote betting account

For more detail on that, check out ‘When to bet on the tote‘ and ‘Best tote bets‘ and ‘Worst tote bets‘ pages.