Totepool And Tote Betting Explained

TotepoolIf you have been just close to a horse race circuit in the UK, you will know what the tote is. The Tote was invented by the UK government back in 1928, and it was sold to Betfred in 2011. The Tote is, in a nutshell, the only licensed form of pool betting on horse racing. Totesport has its brand, and you will be able to find outlets in nearly every Britain’s race tracks. In total there are more than 500 betting shops around the country.

The Tote is a non-fixed odds betting where the winnings are defined by the size of the pool and also the total number of people that will share the prize: this is also known as pari-mutuel bet. The Tote is composed of several betting options like win singles, each-way, place bets, forecast betting, jackpots and lots more which we have explained below.

You will see that Tote bets are licensed to some bookmakers however Betfred owns the original license. With this bookmaker, you can get the full range of features and jackpots, so it is advised to bet with them if you are interested in The Tote. In this page, we will guide you through the different tote offers available and also the standard terms and conditions you will need to be aware of.

Best Tote And Totepool Betting Sites

TotesportBetfred & Totesport

For new punters, it might be quite confusing to understand the difference between the Tote, Totepool, and Totesport. It makes sense to clarify those concepts before exploring more details of this fascinating way of betting. The Tote is simply a pool bet and has been run for a long time by a bookmaker that had the same name ‘The Tote’. This bookmaker was then rebranded in 2004 as Totesport: to facilitate the marketing the bets tote types were classified under the name Totepool.

In 2011 Betfred acquired the Tote, and in the process, they also bought the online site: this means that Betfred is now able to offer totepool markets through their website and in the same way Totesport can provide the same fixed odds markets, in-play betting, streaming and offers that their parent has.

If we look at Totesport we can see that it has become a clone of Betfred as they have the same functionalities. Even if Betfred have licensed out totepool bets also to other betting sites, they have kept for themselves some exclusive features that you won’t find elsewhere like enhanced jackpots and unique promotions. The good news is that even if Totesport and Betfred are the same company you can still claim welcome bonus offers from both sites which is great. Betfred Full Review.

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Other Places To Place Totepool Bets

The tote is currently running on a 7-year private license however others bookmakers can join the tote syndicate. The way it works is that bets placed with those betting sites are included in the same pool pot.

In addition to that, there are also non-syndicated bookmakers that are accepting tote bets, and that will pay out in line with the official tote dividend. Those bets will not be included in the pot itself, and generally, it is advisable that you bet with a syndicated betting site.

In our betting sites reviews, you will find out individual online bookmakers that are accepting tote bets. Please also remember that not all Tote bets are taken by all tote bookmakers. To get the best range of tote betting opportunities you should bet directly either with Totesport or Betfred that own the license and can, therefore, offer all totepool bets.

How To Bet On Totepool

Totepool TypesTotepool betting is not too different from conventional fixed odds singles, accumulator and forecast bets. To get the actions going, you need to make your selections on a totepool coupon either as a single bet or as a multiple bet. There are some restrictions in the scoop6 and totejackpot where you can only pick a one-line bet although you can place as many lines as you like. Other bets types like placepot and quadpot will permit you to make several selections in a race by merely increasing the number of lines. Minimum stakes do apply, but these are always £2 or less.

Totepool Bets Explained

Totebets can be placed in many different ways. You can place them as win bets, place bets, mixed each-way bets, forecasts and a lot more. Even if the names do not help these bet types are easy to understand and we will go through all here.

In every Totebet the winnings are determined by the net amount of money in the pot divided by the number of winners. The majority of tote bets are also applicable to Greyhound Racing. In Tote the minimum stake is usually £1 or £2 on course. Please note that this is the minimum total bet and that the unit stake can be lower but the total amount has to exceed that value.

Totepool Single Bets


Totewin is the easiest as it is just a win bet. It usually has better than the fixed-odds industry starting price (SP). All it is pretty straightforward here as all you need to do is picking a horse by name, number or you can also decide to back the favourite. The winning pot usually is the biggest of the single bet pots.

After the race, the net pool is divided by the total stakes on the winner, and it is then multiplied by your stake to determine the payout: if there is a dead heat than the net pool is divided between the runners. Non-runners are void, and the stake is given back. Totewin bets can also be combined into multiples.


In this type of totebet you need to back a horse to place in a race: this is a single bet, and you will get a payout if a horse places. So if you think the horse will place but not win then this could be a good shout.

In Toteeachway there are two pots: one is for the winner, and one is for the place. In this case, the minimum bet is £2, £1 each-way. 5-7 runners races have two places paid while 8-15 runners have three places paid. If it is a handicap race with 16 or more runners than you will get four places.


Here you will need to select the winning horse in each of two specific races at the same meeting. Totepool will nominate this. This type is very similar to placing a straight double in a fixed-odds bookmaker.

In case there is a non-runner than it will be replaced by the starting place favourite. If one of the races will not run then you get paid out on the first race (so basically it will revert to a totewin bet). If none of the race will take place, then it is a void, and you will get your initial stake bet. The minimum unit stake is 50p, and the final amount should be £1 or more.


Again this is very straightforward as you will need to pick winning horses from 3 specific races from the same meeting that will be nominated by totepool. So this is the totepool version of what would be a straight line treble in a fixed odds betting site.

The terms are the same as totedouble: if a race will not run you will get paid on the remaining races and if all races are void then you will get your money bet. Non-runners will revert your bet to the SP favourite.


In this triple forecast bet you will be predicting the order at the end of the race for the first three horses (1st, 2nd, and 3rd). This type of bet applies typically to races with 8 or more runners. It is the totepool equivalent of a tricast, and it is challenging to win. On the positive side though the winners will be less so if you are lucky you will go away with a big part of the pool. If there are non-runners, the field size goes below 3 and then the bet is void.

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In this straight forecast, you will be asked to predict the winner and the 2nd place in the right order. The terms are the same and this only applies when there are 3+ runners.


In this bet you are allowed to pick any two horses to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd in any order: this is also called ‘exotic’ bet. In case the field size goes down to 4 or 5 then the payout will be on the first two horses. If there are less then four runners, then the bet will be void. This type of totepool is prevalent in South Africa where it accounts for 40% of all the total pool turnover.

Totepool Multiple Bets

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In this bet type, you will need to pick the winners from six races that are selected by totepool every day. If you get all the selections correctly, you will win a considerable amount already with a stake of just £1. If there are no winners, the jackpot will roll over and in some cases has reached massive levels like £1.5 million.

In our opinion, this is probably the more fun bets you can place on the Tote. Most punters usually chuck a pound on this in addition to their regular betting in the hope that one day it will be the day.

Similarly to the jackpot, this is a feature that is available every Saturday and also around special days like boxing day. Scoop6 races are usually the top ones that are televised. The stake per line for totescoop6 is £2, and if there is no winner, then the pool rolls over. In this tote pool the jackpot reaches typically and exceed the £1,000,000.

In addition to the win fund, there is also a place fund which has an average payout of £1,000: this is destined to those punters that have picked six horses that placed. As if this wasn’t enough, winners will also get to play for a bonus the following Saturday: in this case, the winners will have to guess the winner of a single selected race to get a bonus. The bonuses tend to grow very big, and there are also other offers that get launched from time to time.

The Placepot is, without a doubt, the most popular totepool multiple bet type. As the name indicates, punters will have to pick six horses to place in the first six races of a meeting. This bet type is available at all UK meetings that are made of a minimum of six races. The first six races on the card do qualify.

The minimum unit stake, in this case, is 10p/line and the minimum total bet is £1. It is worth noting that you can pick as many horses to place in a race as you like. For example, in 6 races you can select a single horse in 2 races, two horses in three races and three horses in the last race. In this scenario, the total number of lines will be 1x1x2x2x2x3 = 24 which at 10p/line will cost £2.40. The reason why this type of tote bet is prevalent is that tends to keep you in the game for longer. The average payout is not bad either as it is generally around £400 per £1 invested.


This tote bet type is available for every UK meeting that has at least six races. You will need to pick a horse to place in each of the four races (3rd to the 6th race). Similarly to the previous bet type, the minimum unit stake is 10p/line with an overall minimum of £1.

Lots of punters prefer quadpots as it is easier to guess the places in four races compared with the six races in the placepot. The average payout is still very interesting as it is £58 for every £1 stakes: considering that there are lots more chances to win this is an attractive proposition.

Totepool Offers And Jackpots

ToteScoop6 Guaranteed Jackpot & Extra Dividends

scoop6As mentioned previously Scoop6 is a particular jackpot tote that is available every Saturday and also on special holidays. It is dedicated to the most significant meetings and races. The history of ToteScoop6 is fascinating as over time has created lots of millionaires. Jackpot roll over if there are no winners and in feature meetings such as Cheltenham or Ascot the jackpots are guaranteed. In addition to this winners will also have the opportunity to play a bonus game the following week: in this, they will have to guess one winner correct. It is the norm that Betfred and Totesport enhance dividends on top of the regular jackpot for those punters who bet with them.

ToteJackpot £1M+ Rollovers

totejackpot-1It is worth keeping on eye on the totejackpot as it can reach extraordinary levels. Since it does roll over on a daily basis it can deliver wonders: sometimes it gives few tens of thousands, but there have been periods where it has reached six figures and sometimes even seven. The record jackpot was an astonishing £1,400,000. Considering that we are talking about £1 bet the payout can be more lavish than the national lottery with the advantage that odds are significantly better.

History Of The Tote

TotesportWinston Churchill decided with the racecourse betting act of 1928 to provide a state-run safe alternative to the then illegal off-course bookmakers. The idea behind was that with this the state could also get a share of the action. The first race with tote betting available was therefore in July 1929 and was a flat meeting held at Carlisle and Newmarket.

Fast-forward to 1961 and the Betting Levy Act reformed the Horserace Totelisator Board, also known as ‘the tote.’ The primary objective of this law was to ensure distribution of funds from the horserace betting levy board. The Tote opened the first betting shop in 1972, and it grew to over 500 shops employing 4000 staff. In 1992 Tote direct was set up to channel bets from others bookmakers into the tote pool. Nowadays there are more than 7,000 betting shops in the Uk that are taking Tote bets in addition to lots of tote online betting sites.

The Scoop6 was created in 1999 and quickly became one of the most popular tote bet’s type. The partnership with Channel 4 racing was a winning one, and the first horseracing millionaire was created. In November 2008 the scoop6 delivered the highest jackpot of over £4 million.

The government decided to privatise The Tote in 2008, but it took until 2011 for it to be sold. There were 18 competitors in the running, but eventually, Betfred emerged as a winner with a bid that was reported to be well over the £250 million marks. For a complete history of the Tote visit our dedicated guide.

Common Totepool Terms And Conditions

  1. Pari-mutuel – Those are peer-peer meaning that the amount that you will win depends by the amount bet and also by the number of winners which is different from fixed-odds betting.
  2. Payout limits – there aren’t payout limits for totepool as the amount is simply the total pot divided by the number of punters that have won. In exceptional circumstances, there are some minimum guaranteed prices offered by the bookmakers.
  3. Gross Pool – this is the cumulative amount bet on a race or totepool cupon before the deductions.
  4. Net Pool – this is the money in the pool minus the operators’ cuts. Bookmakers take a fixed percentage, and this usually is less than the margin they have on fixed odds bets.
  5. Minimum stake – This is typically £1 and £2 for Scoop6. Multiple bets sometimes have limits that can be as low as 10p/line as long as the total bet is equal to £1 or more.
  6. Non-Runners and Void Bets – in totedouble and treble if your horse is a non-runner you will be given the SP favourite. For other tote bets, the stakes will be returned if a horse is a non-runner unless it has come under starters orders.
  7. Dead Heats – If the race is declared a dead heat than the pool is divided into equal parts.
  8. Insufficient Finishers / Races – Pool is deemed void and all is refunded if the numbers of races on the card will not be enough or if there won’t be enough horses that will finish the race.


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