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sparrow
28 Jul 21 06:29
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Date Joined: 20 Jul 02
| Topic/replies: 39,786 | Blogger: sparrow's blog
Greg Wood in The Guardian

“The problem we’ve found is not that people think the Tote is poor value,” Jamie Hart, UK Tote Group’s product director, says. “They know the Tote is poor value. It isn’t, because we’ve changed it, but it’s not even like it’s an opinion. It’s more like if you ask people in the street, “which is more expensive, Waitrose or Lidl?”, they know it’s Waitrose.”

It is a candid assessment of the Tote’s current position in the landscape, 93 years after the pool-betting operator was founded by Winston Churchill, a decade after it was sold to the bookmaker Fred Done, and a little under two years since UKTG completed its purchase for around £115m. The overwhelming majority of bets on British racing are placed with bookmakers, and punters who struggle to get their bets accepted can head to an exchange such as Betfair instead.

UKTG agreed to return at least £50m to Britain’s racecourses over seven years as part of its deal to acquire the Tote. In annual terms, that is around 9% of the £80m Levy yield from bookies and exchanges in 2020-21, despite pool-betting still bumping along with a market share in low single figures, as it has for many years.

Few punters, understandably, prioritise the slice of their betting turnover which will be returned to the sport when they decide where to place their bets. But if you are planning to have a flutter on Glorious Goodwood this week, it could be a good moment to test Hart’s claim that the Tote has changed.

For one thing, many of the pools on the first three days of the meeting – which opens on Tuesday – will be huge, as this year Goodwood will make its debut in the Hong Kong-based World Pool system.

The effect this will have on pool sizes is apparent from Saturday’s King George at Ascot, when the race was part of the World Pool for the first time. The win-pool for the King George was £68,000 in 2018, £118,000 in 2019 and just £19,000 for a three-runner race in 2020. On Saturday, as Adayar beat four opponents, it was £677,000.

Big pools are robust pools, giving punters confidence that dividends will not be skewed by a couple of lumpy bets on the favourite. Punters who bet directly via the Tote’s website, meanwhile, will benefit from a more fundamental change under its bonnet: a 10% bonus added to win dividends on all races, whether they are part of the World Pool or not.

As a result of the bonus, the Tote’s effective final book on the International Handicap at Ascot on Saturday, for direct online customers at least, was 3% over-broke, versus an SP over-round of 20%. For the four-runner handicap won by Southern Voyage, it was 4% over-broke, versus 8% per cent over-round at SP.

This raises an obvious question: how can the Tote – or any betting operator for that matter – offer over-broke markets to punters without going bust? The answer highlights an issue that had been well known to industry insiders for years, but one to which 99.9% of Tote customers always remained oblivious: rebating.

Churchill’s vision when the Tote was created was of a system which allowed ordinary punters to bet against each other without the need for a bookie in the middle.

Pool betting is nothing without liquidity, however, and in the past, the Tote – like many other pool systems around the world – has allowed professional punters with huge bankrolls to bet with a guaranteed rebate on their turnover – a cashback, effectively, which allows them to squeeze any value out of the market.

But not any more. No one, at Tote HQ or anywhere else, expects the “Nanny” to replace the bookies as the first port of call for most punters any time soon. Even a point or two on pool-betting’s market share, however, would mean a big extra injection of cash for the sport.

There have been false dawns in the past, moments when it seemed that the Tote might bounce back to relevance in the betting market and give the bookies a run for their money. It didn’t happen then and it may not happen now. But the odds, while hardly stacked in pool-betting’s favour, look better than they have for a very long time.
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Report .Marksman. July 28, 2021 11:00 AM BST
Looks to good to be true.
Will consistent winners be charged a Premium Charge or be restricted?
Report .Marksman. July 28, 2021 4:08 PM BST
TOte+ only applies to "selected races".  :(
Report sparrow July 28, 2021 4:12 PM BST
But the article is saying....."Big pools are robust pools, giving punters confidence that dividends will not be skewed by a couple of lumpy bets on the favourite. Punters who bet directly via the Tote’s website, meanwhile, will benefit from a more fundamental change under its bonnet: a 10% bonus added to win dividends on all races, whether they are part of the World Pool or not.
Report angrybryan July 28, 2021 4:25 PM BST
When the bettor assesses a race be decides if the odds on offer represent value.If you make a wager and don't know the odds of reward its like doing the weekly shop and not been told of the prices until you have bought the food!.
Report sparrow July 28, 2021 4:27 PM BST
They are pinning their hopes on the punters abroad swelling this "World Pool"
Report grayhawk July 28, 2021 6:14 PM BST
Where is their advertising since taking over?...admittedly i don't buy the racing post so for my eyes it's been none existent....

I place the odd exacta on here and the dividend seems more often than not worse than CSFs unless they're at the front of the market...
Report penzance July 28, 2021 6:20 PM BST
these punters from abroad,are they subject to the
new snooping rules,I wonder?
Report stewarty b July 28, 2021 6:38 PM BST
I place the odd exacta on here and the dividend seems more often than not worse than CSFs unless they're at the front of the market...



That's fine if you put a tenner forecast on but up your stakes to £100+ and see how the C.S.F. is better value.
Report grayhawk July 28, 2021 7:02 PM BST
I'd much rather put a CSF cos you more or less know what you're getting but unless i physically go to a shop i don't have that option ....and my exactas are usually just a last minute occurance when i'm placing them as a saver...( what i see as the danger to horse i'm backing as a single )
Report crystalhunt July 28, 2021 8:25 PM BST
At Goodwood today, except for one race the Exacta paid more than the SFC. All trifectas paid more than the Tricast. This happens on a daily basis but more so at big meetings. The tote dividends declared in the racing post are only enhanced if the bets are placed online with Tote+. To me it's a no brainer if you do these type of bets and I certainly wont be placing tote bets on betfair exchange or at a betting shop. The other plus is that they take 1p lines subject to a minimum total bet of £2. Tote+ explain that they can do this online because they're not paying commission to anyone, such as betfair or high street bookies.
Report fife July 28, 2021 8:42 PM BST
The minimum total bet is 50p online.
Report crystalhunt July 28, 2021 10:37 PM BST
Cheers fife- hadn't realised that.

The other selling point of tote+ is that win bets are paid at no less than SP or at the tote dividend when greater than SP - Maximum qualifying bet £500.
Report cosmik debris July 29, 2021 9:37 AM BST
Some of the Tote pools at GG yesterday were massive. The swinger pool used to be a joke but it was getting £500k plus.
Report SlippyBlue July 29, 2021 11:29 AM BST
I use tote+ for placepots, the 10% bonus is a decent incentive and if your stake is a pony you get a fiver credit for the next day and that's fair enough in my book. I've not had any other bet with the tote in more years than I care to remember though.
Report stewarty b July 29, 2021 2:00 PM BST
The nanny is ok for placepots but try sticking 10k on an even money chance with them.



Of course, you will be matched but that even money shot, (depending which course the bet is placed at will be odds on when you go and collect.)
Report .Marksman. July 29, 2021 4:13 PM BST
stewarty b unlike you, I tend not to put 10K on even moneys shots.  There is £500,000 in the win pool already on the next race.  If I had £25 ew in the pools, it wouldn't shift the odds of the fav.  I think I can now see the (insignificant, yellow) tote+ symbol for this race so there is a 10% bonus on top of guaranteed sp.
Report .Marksman. July 29, 2021 4:13 PM BST
stewarty b unlike you, I tend not to put 10K on even moneys shots.  There is £500,000 in the win pool already on the next race.  If I had £25 ew in the pools, it wouldn't shift the odds of the fav.  I think I can now see the (insignificant, yellow) tote+ symbol for this race so there is a 10% bonus on top of guaranteed sp.
Report .Marksman. July 29, 2021 4:20 PM BST
Win Pool:  £598,713.41
Place Pool:  £569,321.67

Looks good to me.  I am going to open an account, as all my bookie accounts were restricted or closed ages ago.  Nowadays, you just need to keep as many options open as possible.
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