Tote Betting Definition

“The Tote” is a British bookmaker and is the only horseracing bookmaker that is allowed to offer parimutuel betting. Parimutuel betting is a system in which all bets of a particular type are put together in a pool. The “juice” or “vigorish” is removed and the payoff odds are calculated by a pool shared among all winning bets. In some countries the “tote” refers to the colloquialism “totalizator” which is the name for the system that runs parimutuel betting. This system calculates and displays bets already made.


One example could involve a favorite starting at 7/1, but after many wagers dropping down to 3/1 as a starting price.

Tote Betting Pros and Cons
  • Parimutuel betting or “tote betting” removes house odds which doesn’t give one person or a group an advantage over another.
  • Since the odds change as more bets are placed, the longer one waits to bet, the clearer the odds will be.
  • Particular favorites might not offer as much in winnings compared to bookmakers who aren’t using the tote system. This is because the odds fall as more people wager.
  • Long shot odds might drop considerably before the start of a race if many people wager on it and think it will win.