Tote or The tote was established by Act of Parliament in 1928 and is now the fourth largest bookmaker in the UK. Its original purpose was to offer on-course pool betting on horseracing as an alternative to starting price betting with bookmakers and to distribute its profits for “purposes conducive to the improvement of breeds of horses or the sport of horseracing”. The first major race meetings with tote betting were the flat race meetings at Newmarket (July Course) and Carlisle on 2nd July 1929.
Tote Investors Ltd (TIL) was set up in 1930 as an independent company by a ‘group of gentlemen interested in the welfare of racing’ to channel off-course and credit-bets into the tote pools. The tote bought TIL in 1962. Today Totesport has 190,000 registered clients and accepts credit and debit bets for SP and pool betting on horseracing and most sporting events via the telephone call center and the internet.
The Betting Levy Act 1961 forced significant changes in the racing and bookmaking industries. A horserace betting levy on bookmakers meant that the tote was no longer the only source of betting revenue for racing. The spending powers of the tote were transferred to the Levy Board. Most importantly bookmakers were permitted to open betting shops. However, the tote was restricted to opening shops offering bets on horseracing at tote odds. These restrictions were lifted in 1972, from then on the tote could operate as a bookmaker as well as offering pool betting on horses. Today the tote has over 450 retail shops offering cash betting on horseracing and a wide range of sporting and non-sporting events.
Tote Direct was set up in 1992 to channel tote bets from high street betting shops into tote pools. Now tote betting terminals are in more than 4500 shops across the UK, including all Totesport, Ladbrokes and Coral shops. The tote internet betting operation, tote express, was launched in 2002.
In 2001 responsibility for appointments to the tote Board moved from the Home Secretary to the Department of Culture Media and Sport. The Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, now has responsibility for the appointment of the Chairman and appointments to the Board of the tote.
Key Dates for Tote
Racecourse Betting Act passed (August) Racecourse Betting Control Board (the tote) set up to handle on-course cash pool bets on horse racing
1929 First meeting operated under Licence: West Street Harriers (13th March) First meeting operated with Board’s staff: Old Surrey & Burstow (27th April)
First major meetings: Newmarket (July Course) and Carlisle (2nd July)
Tote Investors Ltd set up as an independent company to handle off-course credit tote bets
First grants made from tote profits to Hunters’ Improvement Society, promoters of point-to-point meetings and pony racing
First sponsored race: Tote Investors Cup (Kempton)
1961 Betting Levy Act transferred responsibility for distribution of funds to racing to the Levy Board;
Board reconstituted as Horserace Totalisator Board; Tote Investors Ltd opened two betting shops to handle tote pool bets only
tote buys Tote Investors Ltd
tote permitted to handle bets on all sports
Tote Bookmakers launched
Live TV pictures in betting shops
Tote Direct launched (a joint venture with Corals)
Betting shops open in the evening
Sunday racing (May: Newmarket and Salisbury)
tote permitted to handle bets on all events, including numbers. Ladbrokes join Tote Direct
tote betXpress internet service launched
History of tote pool bets
Win and Place pools
Daily Double launched (Discontinued 1985) Special Autumn Double (Cesarewitch/Cambridgeshire)
Ante-post bets on Cambridgeshire and Manchester November Handicap (money was placed in main pools)
Straight forecast pool (3 or 4 runner races) (Discontinued 1939)
Unsuccessful experiment with Single Pools (Win and Place bets in the same pool)
Daily Treble (Discontinued 1985)
Straight forecast pool re-introduced (3 to 5 runner races) (Discontinued 1977)
Dual Forecast (Discontinued 2000)
Quadpool (Discontinued 1966)
Jackpot (June: Royal Ascot)
Tricast (Discontinued 1973)
Placepot (November: Newbury)
Top Three Jockey Pool at Ascot
Super Double and Super Treble (Scottish courses only) (Discontinued 1983)
Trio (Discontinued 1998)
Quadpot launched (June: Pontefract and Nottingham) and Multibet (May: Goodwood)
Trifecta launched (August: Goodwood)
Scoop6 launched (July)
Exacta launched (January)
Official unveiling of Totesport/totepool
Totesport – Totesport is one of the biggest and best betting organisations in Britain with over 4000 employees, 450 shops, and a major presence on all 59 of Britain’s racecourses as well as round the clock online betting facilities in the world. At least 74 million bets are placed at totesport every year with profits going back into the UK horse racing industry. Totesport offers huge selection of multi-channel online sports betting from around the globe; everything from golf, to football, to horse racing.