What Is Totepool & Tote Betting?

Totepool betting was created by the UK government in 1928. Tote betting is a type of wagering with non-fixed odds. Potential winnings in a Totepool depend on the size of the pool, and the number of people betting in it. While the operator gets a minor cut, the rest of the money goes directly to the winners.

Your individual earnings will depend on the number of winners, and the amount of money they’ve invested in the pool. Furthermore, you will always get the starting price when betting on a horse. However, you won’t know at what odds you’ll be playing, or how much you can earn, until the race ends.

While Tote betting is in some ways similar to other types of fixed-odds betting, the payout pool is different. Moreover, in Totepool betting, how much you win can depend on the total amount of stakes on a race, a particular horse winning and even their placement.

Most bookmakers have licenses that allow them to facilitate Tote bets. However, only Tote and Totesport have access to all of the features, such as jackpots. Furthermore, Tote betting comes in several forms, including win singles, each-way, forecast betting, etc.

The History of Totepool & Tote Betting

Totepool betting systems use a betting method called “parimutuel betting”. It originated at the turn of the 20th century in France and is still quite popular in some European countries. However, in the UK, Tote betting was established with the Racecourse Betting Act, which was created by Winston Churchill. Later on, this government-appointed board became known as the Horserace Totalisator Board. Also, the Tote derives its name from a device that was created to calculate the odds for these types of bets.

While some might say that the odds in Tote betting are generally low, they are quite similar to the ones any other bookmaker will give you. However, Totepools sometimes even offer better odds, depending on how many people bet on the winning horse. Also, you don’t need to memorise complicated rules and regulations — you can just check the horse’s number and write down your bet.

Jackpot Prizes in Tote Betting

Additionally, Tote betting offers the Tote Jackpot and the Tote Scoop 6. Furthermore, these major jackpot prizes are some of the most appealing bets you can make. You can even bet on these jackpots through bookies outside of the Tote. Moreover, they work similarly to a standard lottery.

The Scoop 6

The Scoop 6 allows you to choose the winners of six races, most commonly the ones that have TV coverage. The entry fee for The Scoop 6 is £2 and you can play it every Saturday. Furthermore, the payouts in this type of jackpot can be quite generous, the biggest one being £3.5m. The winners of The Scoop 6 are eligible for a bonus and receive an average of £279,218 in winnings. Additionally, you can increase your chances of winning by betting on several horses for every race.

Tote Jackpot

The Tote Jackpot is one of the more popular Totepool bets, and the buy-in for the Tote Jackpot is only £1. However, in order to win, you have to choose the first 6 winners nominated in The Tote meetings. Moreover, you have to attend these meetings to be eligible to bet. If there’s no jackpot winner, the money will stay on hold until the next meeting. Additionally, the payouts are usually quite good because there are lower odds of several people picking six winners in a row. The biggest Tote Jackpot win was almost £3m.


Because Tote betting works like a pool bet, the dividends serve as the return you receive for your bet. However, you can’t calculate or receive dividends until the end of the race.

To work the Totepool to your advantage, it’s crucial to find races that have a small number of bakers on the same bet. For example, you can bet on a horse that isn’t a favourite, to increase your potential winnings. Moreover, the smaller the number of punters backing a horse, the lower the dividend gets.

The race cards in Tote Betting look different compared to most other race cards. You will also be able to see the horse’s number, and maybe their name. Once the race has begun, the Tote will add up the total amount of money set on a particular horse. It’s important to note that the race favourite will be the horse that has received the highest amount of stakes. Next, the Tote will take its fee, which can be up to 10%, depending on the race.

Moreover, it’s quite simple to calculate your dividend. For example, if the total amount of stakes on the race was £5000, and you bet £500 on the winning horse — the winning dividend will be £5000/£500 = £10. Meaning, you will receive £10 for every £1 you bet. So, if you put £10 on the winning horse, you will have a return of £100, and a £90 profit.

Totepool Bets

The Tote betting system continues to increase its offers as its popularity keeps growing. These are the current types of Totepool and Tote bets:

Tote Win

The tote win is one of the most popular forms of  Tote betting. Moreover, the Tote win bet is quite simple and straightforward. Just pick the winner of a race or event in order to make a profit from the dividend.

Tote Place

When you’re betting on the Tote place, you are putting down a stake on the horses’ placement in the race. Moreover, the number of paid places is determined by the number of horses in the race. However, you don’t make any extra money in Tote place betting if your horse ends up winning the race. Meaning, all that matters is the placement of your horse at the end of the race.

Tote Exacta

Tote exacta bets are quite similar to traditional forecast bets. Basically, you need to pick two horses that will finish 1st and 2nd. You also have to highlight which horse will finish in which place. You can also make an Exacta combination bet if you want to bet on the first two places, but not guess which horse will be the 1st or 2nd. However, keep in mind that the Exacta combination bet offers lower odds and dividends than a typical Exacta bet.

Tote Trifecta

The Tote Trifecta allows you to bet on the first three horse placements in a race. Additionally, you can make a Combination Trifecta bet and only choose the top three horses and their placements in the race.

Tote Quadpot

Tote Quadpot bets allow you to combine a Tote Exacta with a Tote Place bet. The races in Tote Quadpot bets typically consist of the final four races chosen at a meeting. Furthermore, you can wager on one horse’s placement for each of the four races.

Tote Placepot

The Placepot bet elaborates on the Quadpot bet and allows you to pick a horse from six races presented at the meeting. Furthermore, you can choose up to three horses for each race, which will give you a bigger chance of succeeding. However, you should consider betting on only 1 horse to maximise your winnings.

Britbet Takes over the Pools

When Tote was bought out by Betfred in 2011, they tried to condition race tracks in both Ireland and the UK to offer their pool betting services exclusively. However, many race tracks refused to do so and created Britbet instead. The owner of Betfred then threatened to remove Betfred’s sponsorship deals and on-course bookmakers from all race tracks that wouldn’t comply.

While most race track owners support Britbet fully, some are against it and will likely never support it. There are a couple of reasons why these race tracks are doing so. Either they are a part of Betfred, or they are trying to develop their own pool betting service in partnership with both companies.

The Bottom Line

Totepool & Tote Betting is a fun, high-quality way of betting that still gives you a lot of different bets to choose from. Moreover, you don’t have to know the first thing about horses, races or betting for that matter. Tote betting is incredibly simple. You just tick the box next to the horse you want to bet on and put down the amount you want to wager. Even though your earnings can be subject to your bookmaker’s cut, taxes and other fees — the remainder of the money in the pool is yours.

The regular Tote Bets can give you a great payout, and Tote jackpots allow you to win incredible amounts of money. Additionally, Tote bets are somewhat unpredictable and can excite you like no others. Furthermore, the adrenaline rush you feel as your runner approaches the end of the race is incredible. Also, waiting for the dividend on your horse to be announced is an incredible feeling. Totepools are great for breaking the monotony of regular racing bets.