The Tote

The Tote (now owned by Betfred rather than the Government) offer pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. Many of their bets are similar to what you can bet on with standard bookmakers (although payouts differ from race to race) although there

The Tote

Tote Bookmakers

The Tote (now owned by Betfred rather than the Government) offer pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. Many of their bets are similar to what you can bet on with standard bookmakers (although payouts differ from race to race) although there are several bets that are unique to the Tote. The Tote has a strong presence at racecourses throughout the UK although it is also available with most bookmakers online and in shops.

Types Of Bet


Tote win bets are pretty much exactly the same as standard win bets except your bet is settled by the Tote win dividend rather than the fixed odds you’d get at a bookmaker. You may see guide prices from the Tote but remember these are only a guide and the dividends can differ significantly.


Tote allows you to bet place only unlike many bookmakers. Place bets are also settled by a place dividend and this sort of bet can be favourable when a horse consistently runs well without winning or if there is a hot favourite in the race that you think won’t be beaten but you fancy your selection to run well behind it. The number of places paid reflect standard each way betting terms.

OLBG member Micko70 reckons place only betting is better than an each way bet, read his blog about the subject by clicking here.

Each Way

Simply a combination of bets on the win and place pools.


An exacta works in much the same way as a forecast bet, you are required to name the first two horses home in a race (in that order). Should you wish to name two horses or more to finish first and second in any order you must place a combination exacta, two selections will cost two bets, three selections will cost six bets, four selections would be twelve bets, five selections will be twenty bets and so on. Alternatively you can place a banker exacta where you specify a horse to finish first and then any number of horses to finish second. The number of bets will match the number of horses you back to finish second. If you pick a non runner in an exacta your stake is refunded.

OLBG member monkeytennis has had some great success with exactas and forecasts in the past, click here to view his thoughts and tips when placing this kind of bet.


The Tote Swinger is a relatively new Tote bet available on races with six or more runners where you have to name two horses to finish first, second or third. Three different dividends are paid on this, 1st and 2nd, 1st and 3rd and 2nd and 3rd. The dividends will be very low if you are backing two of the favourites as there are plenty of chances for you to win but name two bigger priced horses to hit the frame and you’ll find the dividends very favourable.


This bet involves picking the first three home in a race just like a tricast with the bookies. Just like the exacta, you can place a single (straight), combination or banker tricast. The Tote will select certain races with eight runners or more on each card to be eligible for this bet. If you pick a non runner in an trifecta your stake is refunded.


The placepot is unique to the Tote and involves picking horses to be placed in the first six races on any card. You can make multiple selections in each race and the number of lines or bets you have selected can be worked out by multiplying the amount of selections in each race.

Whether a horse needs to win the race, come in the first two, three or four is calculated as follows:

  • Races of 2-4 runners, your horse needs to win.
  • Races of 5-7 runners, your horse needs to come first or second.
  • Races of 8 -15 runners your horse needs to finish first, second or third.
  • Handicap races of 16 or more runners your horse needs to finish in the first four.

  • Another Micko70 blog that can help with Tote betting is How To Win The Placepot


Very similar to the placepot except you are picking horses to place on only the last four races of the placepot.


The same principles apply to the placepot except your horse has to win each race instead of getting placed. There is only one Jackpot meeting each day (usually the feature meeting) and if there are no winners the jackpot fund is rolled on to the next day’s Jackpot meeting. There is no jackpot meeting on a Saturday because of the Scoop 6.


The Scoop 6 takes place each Saturday and is a combination of the Jackpot and Placepot. Six televised races are selected in advance, usually across two or three meetings and those taking part must try and pick the winner of each race. The bet costs £2 per line with £1 going on the placepot part of the bet and £1 going towards the win fund. The Scoop6 has been known to rollover many times creating huge jackpots. Each week there is a bonus race, often the most difficult race on the day’s Scoop6, where winners from the previous week pick one horse in an attempt to win a bonus fund. The bonus fund is also rolled over whenever it isn’t won.

When To Bet Tote Over Fixed Odds

There is no set formula to this but it can pay to concentrate on the Tote at bigger meetings where there is plenty of on course Tote betting. Bigger shock results tend to also be rewarded on Tote as much fewer people predict the correct result. In big field handicaps the exacta and trifecta payouts can sometimes double the forecast and tricast payouts, especially when there are a couple of big priced runners hitting the frame.

Tips For Tote Betting

When betting into the Tote pool you have to remember that the more predictable the outcome, the more winners there will be and the lower the dividend will be. On occasions betting on certain Tote bets is not worth the risk. For example backing many favourites on the placepot is a risky strategy, one horse running below par can turn your bet into a loser, if all the favourites win the dividend will be very low. In a given race there may be a short priced favourite that has more potential than any other in the field but also a horse that nearly always runs it’s race and often places. The latter may be better ‘value’ for your placepot as if that places but the favourite doesn’t you will be looking at a much bigger dividend. A horse sneaking a place is just as valuable as a ten length winner in the placepot and that should be remembered when evaluating which horses to pick.

If betting on Tote bets that have bookmaker alternatives (win, each way, exacta and trifecta) it is worth always comparing what you would have won if picking the alternative bet. Keep a record of this and work out which bet would have been more profitable over a year or so. Depending on what sort of races you bet in and what priced horses you back you’ll probably find either the Tote bets or the bookmaker bets suit your needs much more than the other one.

There are some great bets on the Tote, there are some not so great bets, it all depends on your style of betting and what sort of horses you pick. Usually it simply takes trial and error to work out the best bets for each individual.

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