How do I bet on course?

In the days before betting exchanges, racecourse betting rings, in which on-course bookmakers ply their trade, were the heart and soul of the betting experience. Nowadays, a typical betting ring may be less colourful, noisy and well populated than was once the case, but on-course betting remains part-and-parcel of a day at the races.

On a race-by-race basis, on-course bookmakers advertise the odds available on each horse. The odds available may vary, albeit only slightly, from one bookmaker to another and may change over time, in response to market forces. However, you always receive the odds available at the moment you place your bet, so it pays to shop around for competitive odds. When you find them, simply tell your bookmaker of choice your stake, bet type and the racecard number of your selection and hand over your stake money. In return, you will receive a receipt for your bet, including potential winnings, which you must hand back to the same bookmaker, following the ‘weighed in’ signal, to collect any winnings.

Of course, as an alternative to ‘fixed odds’ betting with an on-course bookmaker, you also have the option of ‘pool’ betting on the Tote. The procedure for placing a Tote bet is similar to placing a bet with a bookmaker, but bear in mind that winning dividends are determined by the amount of money in the pool for each market and the number of winning tickets; the dividend displayed at the moment you place your bet may go down, or up, by the time the race is underway.