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Tote v/s Fixed Bet


Betting on horse races has got an equivalent depth of roots in Indian history as that of Horse racing itself. In earlier days when several rulers ruled different kingdoms in India, betting on Horse races organized for mere amusement of the public was a very popular thing. The tradition followed in older days has now become a more organized procedure but is still followed as a favourite leisure time activity for many.

There are several bodies now known as Turf Authorities of India that rule the organization of the Horse racing events across nine licensed racecourses located at various parts of the country namely at Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mysore, Kolkata, Chennai, Ooty and Delhi. The rules of betting and simulation of the whole betting procedure is also under the strict supervision of these Turfs who keep a close check on the proceedings and are accountable to Government of India.

The Formats of Betting

The betting on Indian Horse racing events can be done in person only at the betting booths available at the racecourses or with the help of offline bookmarkers. The online betting for Indian races is not available due to the regulatory policies and laws enforced by the Indian government on online betting system. But betting in person is legalized by Government of India under the 1888 Police Act and 1930 Gaming Act.

Since the government recognizes the betting on Horse races as a skill acquired by the Punters therefore no legal action can be held against any bet made in person or through offline bookmarkers on any Horse race happening across the nation.

This can be done in two ways namely Tote and Fixed odds betting. Let us try and understand both of these formats one by one.

  • Tote form of betting – Tote which is a short form for Totalisator is a comparatively more popular way of betting. It is also known as pool form of betting where all the wagers made for a particular race or combination of races is added together into a pool. Therefore the odds or the current price keep on varying throughout the process of betting and is dependent on the number of wagers made at a particular bet and the amount betted on each wager. At the end of the race the wager gets the prize money after deduction of service charges and other taxes from the pool. If there are several winners then the amount is equally divided among all the winning Punters.
  • Fixed odds form of betting – This type of betting is only available through online Bookmarkers and thus is not entertained in Indian Horse racing events. However any Indian can bet in this format for International events happening around the world. In this type of betting in contrast to the Tote form of betting the odds remains fixed throughout the betting procedure i.e. the Punter will get the promised prize irrespective of the fluctuations in the odds or the wagers made.

How to Make a Tote Bet?

As discussed earlier for the Horse races happening across the Indian racecourses, Turf Authorities of India are responsible for the betting procedure. A Tote can be placed by a Punter in several ways which are mentioned as under:

  • At Tote booths located at racecourses – There are several Tote booths installed by Turf Authorities of India at the racecourse itself. Each racecourse across India is having multiple of Tote booths where betting can be done for a race happening at any of the licensed racecourses across India. In such case the total pool of money collected at all the Tote booths is considered as the combined pool from which the winning Punters get their share of prize. Each of such Tote booths is fitted with a Tote screen which shows the current odds for all the bets made for a particular race or group of races.
  • At off-track Tote service outlets – In addition to these Tote booths at the racecourses there are several licensed Tote service outlets where the wager for a bet can be placed by an individual in person. The money collected will again go to the pool only as discussed in the previous point.
  • Through trackside Tote operators – The people enjoying the race at the racecourse can bet their wagers through trackside Tote operators which have a device with them for printing of receipts for the wager made by the Punter. The money collected through this method also is available to influence the odds throughout the betting procedure as it is the part of the pool discussed in previous points.

Advantages of Tote Form of Betting

  • The process is very easy to understand for novice punters.
  • There are several wagers that can be made which include simple Win and Place wagers as well as the complicate and difficult to predict ones like Tanala, Forecast, Treble or Jackpot.
  • One can bid the wager according to his/her own will.
  • The prize money is shared equally among all winning Punters.
  • The rules are standardized by the Turf Authorities of India so there cannot be any type of mess created deliberate or accidently.

Future of Betting

The future of betting in India is quite bright due to the coming of new sponsors who are willing to invest a lot in the events. Moreover the Turfs Authorities and the Stud farms are providing the Jockeys and the Horses with a better training facilities and improved infrastructure. When quality of the racecourses improve, the quality of training improves then the thrills associated with the races are bound to touch new heights which will definitely show through increased number of bets and better betting facilities.

This way through mutual co-ordination and efforts of the Government of India and Turf Authorities of India the level of competition in these races are surely going to touch the International standards some day in the near future. These would be in joint interests of the jockeys as well as the Punters.