What is a Tote, Pool, or Pari-Mutuel bet?

October 4, 2022

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Tote betting (also known as Pool betting and Pari-Mutuel betting) differs from fixed odds betting in the odds you are betting on are not known until the event closes, usually when the event begins.

It’s because all bets are added up in a Tote or Pool bet, and then a casino percentage is deducted from the total. The remaining amount in the pool is then distributed among the winning tickets. It works in much the same way as the National Lottery.

As a result, the most famous horses attract the most money, so they pay fewer dividends – if the favorite wins, more of the winning lottery pays out. However, if an outsider wins the game, the odds follow, or the dividend pays out large since fewer people are backing that choice and sharing the pooled funds between them.

In the UK, Tote betting was run by a government-owned sportsbook until 2012, unsurprisingly called “The Tote.” It has now been sold to the private sector and is a shadow of its former glory. Once upon a time, everyone in the UK used to bet with a tote bag. It is now poorly run and managed, and so is it, to fix the financial problems of British racing, but years of mismanagement and incompetence have allowed the boat to sail smoothly. Nowadays, if you want to place a Tote bet, it is best to do so on a site like Bet365 Bookmaker. They offer tote bets, and your bets will go directly to the official tot pool. It’s just a better setup because Bet365’s infrastructure is excellent, and they offer many other options as well. Their famously good customer service also beats The Tote.

Pari-Mutuel is the same thing, but the word is a French phrase for tote betting. Pari-Mutuel is state-owned and, therefore, better organized and managed in France.

The term pot betting is highly descriptive and explains the process briefly. All bets are combined, and a winning ticket or wager pays out the sum of the betting pool.

There are a variety of pot bets, not just simple winning bets. There are also betting pools

in the US, they have: Win, Place & Show pool betting, and more exotic pool betting, such as:

  • Exacta
  • Quinella
  • Trifecta
  • Superfecta
  • Box bets
  • Doubles
  • Trebles (sometimes called Triples and Pick Threes )
  • Quadrella (also known as Quaddie or four-legged accumulator)
  • Sweep (pick four or pick six, etc.).

British horse racing has some popular Tote bets, such as:

  • Placepot (for all horse races)
  • Tote jackpot (usually only available in the primary race of the day)
  • and Scoop 6 (another formerly popular bet) lost due to poor management universal appeal).

Therefore, Tote can specifically refer to bookmakers that offer this form of pool betting in the UK. The term can also refer to a betting system. Generally, that is just another way of referring to pot betting. You will find that the terms of the tote betting system will vary depending on your country, but the types of bets they offer are generally the same.

In the UK, we recommend placing your Tote bets through top sites like Bet365 bookmakers, as they link directly to the Tote-owned system but do it better.

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