What is Tote Betting?

Betting, especially at the races involve several different forms. One of the most popular ways of betting is with the Tote. But what is the tote? And how does it work exactly? In short, Tote betting is the practice of putting the entire bets placed on a race into the pool. Here, the odds of an individual runner are calculated by dividing all wagers on all runners minus any amount that the house keeps, divided by the amount staked on that runner.

Before making a decision on where to place your money, it would be wise of you to go through this article to find out what the Tote is, different types of Tote odds, how to place a Tote bet, rules, and how Tote betting works. Let’s dive in!

Yan Zhylinski
Yan Zhylinski
What is Tote Betting?

What is the Tote?

The Tote works in the same manner as the lottery. Punters get to pick their horses and put their money into some sort of a cumulative pool. Every player with a winning ticket gets to share a percentage of the pot. In the event when few people backed your horse in the pool, you’ll receive a bigger share if it wins.

How does it Work?

Plenty of sports betting enthusiasts aren’t aware of what Tote Betting entails. Many believe that this is a new form of gambling. Surprisingly, that’s not the case as it has been around for centuries. So, how does it work exactly? It’s quite simple. This form of wagering involves pooling together the entire funds wagered on an event. All the dividends depend on the weight of the funds placed on every competitor, meaning that a competitor that attracts most funds will return little dividend, while the least favored will bring in the highest dividend.

The price for each competitor tends to fluctuate based on the funds staked. Most bookmakers will settle the final dividends the moment the betting market closes. It therefore means that the odds on a given runner tend to vary from the time a bettor placed his or her bet to the final dividend announced at the close of betting.

A quickway of looking at the totesport is through the supply and demand perspective. If a certain horse happens to be on be on a high demand –meaning that it’s more likely to win, the supply of funds necessary to meet the demand undergoes a significant reduction. But if a horse is unwanted or it is the least favorite on the market, the supply of funds tends to be greater and therefore much higher returns.

As you can see, this type of bet placement differs from placing wagers with a bookie where a player gets his or her payout according to odds that s/he gets to struck. In tote bettors get to punt against one another.

Advantages of Tote Betting

There are a few reasons as to why you may want to consider this form of punting. There are many ways to bet with the tote including Jackpots, Placepots, the Scoop 6, and the more traditional racing, place-only, and the win single bets.

First, tote dividends tend to be slightly bigger than the starting (SP) price for selections that tend to be less popular. Less commonly selected runners mostly pay a larger dividend on the tote compared to their SP, with conventional bookies. If you take on a favorite, but go against the crowd, the tote may be one of the most rewarding places for you.

Secondly, the tote guarantee means that your entire dividends won’t be worse in comparison to the starting price. The tote guarantee is mostly an offer that you’ll certainly find in almost all meetings that ensures the settlement of your tote win at the higher of the tote dividend or the SP. It means that you’ll always get a high return or winning margins at the end of the race.

How to Place a Tote Bet

Placing a tote bet isn’t a complicated task. However, if you are new here, you may require a little information to help you with a winning start. Before proceeding, you need to understand that you can place these types of bets from the web, Android, or an iOS device quite easily.

Let’s assume that you are placing a tote bet wager from Ladbrokes’ website. The first thing that you need to do is to go straight to the Race Card and toggle ‘Show Tote’ to display the available tote odds and the total number of runners scheduled to take part in an upcoming race.

Thereafter, head straight and click or tap on the ‘Win or Place Odds’ icon for the runner that you intend to wager on and add it to your bet slip. After you are done, key in your stake and click on the ‘Bet’ icon to confirm your bet. You are free to change between Place, Win, Fixed, Tote, and Each Way by clicking on the dropdown icon.

Different Types of Tote Bets

There are different types of tote bets worth noting. This type of punting does cover from simple bets, to more complicated bets that come with potentially bigger percentages, hence bigger returns to the winner. Simple bets include:

  • Win – A player gets to pick one horse that will win the race.
  • Place – You select a single horse and the position where it will finish in a race.
  • Each Way – You choose one horse that will either win a certain leg or to win and to place.

However, there are some complex bets here. These ones are excessively popular since they come with potentially bigger wins. We explain them better in the table below:


Back a single horse to win


Back your favorite horse to place depending on the number of runners


Select the first and the second horse in the correct order


Choose the first, second, and the third horse in the correct order

Reverse Exacta

Select the first and the second in any order

Reverse Trifecta

Choose the first, second, and the third in any order


Choose two horses in the pool to finish in the first three in any order.


Choose horses before the first race begins to place in the first 6 races at a given meeting


Select horses that will be in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th races at a meeting prior to the start of the 3rd race


Choose horses to win in the first six races


In treble betting, you have to select the winner of 3 nominated races, mostly the last three on the card

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