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UK Tote Gambles On Take-Out Response

Thursday, 11th October 2012

Following a recent decision by The Tote in England to deduct an additional 22% from its win pool, guardian.co.uk reports that payouts "will diminish significantly later this month". With "a monopoly licence to operate pool betting in Britain", Totepool "was sold to the bookmaker Fred Done for £265m in June 2011." Putting the deductions down to the "co-mingling" of bets from overseas punters in British pools "to increase their overall strength and stability", this latest announcement flies in the face of "the last significant change to pool betting's payout structure in March 2003, when the takeout from the win pool was cut from 16% to 13.5%". The totepool takeout now rivals "countries such as South Africa, where the deduction from win pools is 20%, or Australia, where it is 16.5%." Parlaying the hefty deductions against "a much improved betting product", totepool managing director Phil Siers commented, "This is a move which will benefit punters in the long term … We've had problems trying to get the big international totes co-mingling into ours because the rates are pretty different. What this will mean is that those customers who are betting with us will have a product that is much more stable. However, previous Tote Chairman Peter Jones countered: "All the research we ever did suggested that the win pool is more elastic in its demand than the Trifecta and Exacta pools … We thought at the time [when the deduction was cut to 13.5%] that it was very much a matter of credibility and trying to maintain the Tote's presence in the market and its share of it. There is a segment of the racecourse market which is not price sensitive at all, but the off-course punter is much more value-conscious. It's a bit of a shame to cut punter value back again. It's a sad day, in many respects."

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