The Tote is back! In case you thought it never went away, you’d be only part right. For ten years up until very recently the UK tote was owned by a bookmaker who didn’t really invest in the product. As a result, turnover was down, dividends and pool sizes largely disappointing and innovation has been non-existent.
Late last year, tote.co.uk came under new management and the team is keen to breathe new life into one of the best betting brands in Britain. That’s all rather corporate, so what does it mean for you and me? Plenty, as it happens.
£10 Risk Free First Bet
First up, there’s the obligatory new customer offer. In this case, it’s a £10 risk free bet. I checked this out myself the other day: I placed a £12 placepot perm – a loser as it happened, sigh – and had £10 refunded to my account. Still a loser but only £2, and I can recycle that tenner into another, hopefully winning, wager.
Oh, by the way, if - like me - you joined up previously for the Ten to Follow competition but didn't yet place a bet on your account, the £10 offer stands. That was my situation prior to the above refund, so if you already have a tote account you're good to go for the risk free bet.
That’s a classic no brainer reason to get involved, then. But what else?
This is a big one for me as it’s been a personal bugbear for years: tote are now offering an SP guarantee. It goes like this: place a tote bet in the win pool and if the starting price is bigger than the tote dividend, you’ll get paid at the bigger price. So you basically get the better of two quoted returns.
No more spotting what looks like a rick on the tote board, betting accordingly, only to discover the tote return is 40% less than the starting price.
What’s more, and this will appeal to those whose accounts have been restricted, the maximum stake (note, not payout) for this offer is a very generous £500.
On top of the above, tote.co.uk is able to boast massive pools, which means the opportunity for big wins. For example, today, the Scoop 6 is expected to top £650,000 across its win and bonus funds.
To remind you, Scoop 6 is a six leg (duh) bet where players stake £2 per line. That £2 covers a win bet and a place bet, like a selective placepot, and offers the prospect of a life-changing win.
Today’s pool will divide approximately a quarter of a million pounds between those lucky/smart enough to pick all six winners; and if that’s you, you’ll also have the chance to take down a bonus fund of £400,000 next Saturday by finding the winner of a single race.
This was where things were at, pool wise (as well as today's Scoop 6 races), at 8.30am this morning.
As well as this big rollover on the Scoop 6, there is also the prospect of seven-figure placepot pools at the upcoming Cheltenham Festival. Recent Gold Cup day placepot dividends have been £11,701.20 last year, £32,088.70 in 2018, £1,676.90 in 2017, £1,680.90 in 2016, and a whopping £44,616.30 in 2014. Yum!
So there is plenty to look forward to in the short term. But what about post-Cheltenham?
Long Term Outlook
Longer term, there are some great opportunities for punters betting with tote. They are:
- Bet unrestricted to a large stake size
- Winners welcomed
- Alternative dividend to bookmaker/exchange
- Chunky liquidity in the multi-race pools, and growing liquidity in the win pools
- Functional innovation planned, including the opportunity to create syndicates (I’m VERY excited about this one!)
Also, if such things are of interest to you, the new tote team seem genuinely focused on producing a product that, if not quite ‘by racing for racing’, has a far more customer-centric feel to it.
If you haven't already got a tote account, do consider signing up for one. You'll be able to get that risk-free first bet up to a tenner (a nice little placepot or Scoop 6 play, perhaps). Plus you'll never get paid out worse than starting price. Outsiders tend to pay more on the tote than with the bookies, whereas shorter odds horses currently pay more with the bookies than the tote return. But, of course, when that happens you'll get the bookie SP.
So, while helping us, you’re helping yourself. It’s a win-win-win!