Totesport is a British bookmaker with a long history in the betting industry, being first formed in 1928 and initially owned and operated by the UK Government. They remain one of the better known gambling companies around today, despite the fact that most punters don’t realise that they have high street stores, unless of course they happen to live near one.
This is because Totesport are present at all race courses and bookies in the country, and, thanks to their exclusivity deal with the British Government on Pooled Betting (more on this later), their betting options and jackpot bets can be found in almost all other high street bookies, with Totesport bet slips available to use at stores such as William Hill, Coral, and Betfred. It is important to note, however, that individual events – ones that aren’t specific to Totesport – will have different pricing options, and this will be set by Totesport (Betfred) traders.
A 2011 deal saw the company sold to Betfred, turning it into a private company, and while the takeover was criticized by some, it has generally proved to be a popular decision, as Betfred have ensured the brand’s continued success. This was to be expected slightly, as due to UK legislation, Totesport is the only bookie allowed to offer Pooled Betting on horse racing (although this will expire in 2018). Today, the bookie can be seen at most race tracks in the UK, as well as on the high street, with over 500 branches currently operating nationwide.
With their presence being felt on the high street and at race courses, Totesport have also begun to offer online betting, and the last few years have seen the company expand further into the online world offering: casino games, bingo operations, and a successful sports book.
In this review, we look at the online sports book, markets, bets, and features offered by Totesport.
Sports Betting at Totesport
Totesport do not offer the largest number of events, and in terms of market numbers they are pretty much in line with most other bookmakers. In all honesty, there’s nothing to get too excited about here.
In fact, some days the bookmaker has less than 200 individual events available online, and that’s a very low number for a company like Totesport; even more surprising when you remember that Totesport are owned by Betfred who offer thousands of events daily.
One area in which Totesport do deserve recognition though, is with their horse racing, and in fairness they do offer every UK and Irish race with the ability to both bet and live-steam.
Ante-post racing is also commonplace at Totesport, and you can find some pretty juicy odds on races like Goodwood, Cheltenham, and Ascot. Plus, thanks to the best price guarantee (on certain ante-post bets only), you never have to worry about taking an early price again.
Some of the other sports you can find at Totesport include: American Football, Ice Hockey, Baseball; and some less common markets like Motorsports and, bizarrely, a number of Mexican lower-league football events.
Unfortunately, Totesport don’t really offer any special or unusual bets; they are pretty much as far away from humorous as you can get. Nothing original or funny to be found here.
That said, you do very occasionally find the odd novelty bet, including the good old “Will it snow on Christmas day”, but nothing original. There are also some TV markets that crop up from time to time too, including America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent (outright betting), and a handful of others.
How Good Are The Odds?
Totesport are one of the most honest and transparent companies in the bookmaking world, and unlike other companies – Ladbrokes for example – they don’t take a view on a particular horse or selection. This means you will always enjoy a completely unbiased selection of prices.
While the odds offered at Totesport may not be quite as juicy as some of the bigger firms (and we’re talking tiny variations here), they do offer best odds guaranteed on all UK and Irish Horse Racing events, ensuring that you always get the best price on your bets, even if the price you’ve taken is lower than the starting price.
So, if you place a bet at 5/1, and the selection rises to 20/1, then starts at 10/1, your bet will be settled – assuming it wins – at 10/1. No, not 20/1, nice try though!
In Play Betting
While Totesport don’t offer the largest in-play selections, they’ve managed to enter this highly-competitive side of the industry by offering their own unique service to customers. We’ll talk about this a little below, but firstly, let’s look at the in-play markets available.
There are a few to choose from, including Football, Tennis, Golf, Cricket, and a few American sports. Interestingly, Totesport categorise Horse Racing as an in-play event, so you’ll find the race cards in the in-play area as well.
OK, so not the greatest selection we have ever seen. But where Totesport come out on top, is with their promotions available exclusively to in-play customers. These are subject to change at any time, but in the past, they have included things like a £25 free bet if your horse loses by a neck or less; or moneyback, by way of a free bet, if your ACCA (which was placed in-play) loses by just one team.
That is just a small selection of what’s been offered by the bookie previously, but there is more. You can see a full rundown by visiting the site and checking out the in-play page, where all promos and bonuses available are explained in detail.
Totesport are definitely one of those bookies who place the emphasis on the functionality of their website, as opposed to the aesthetics. While their website doesn’t exactly look bad, it does feel like it could with a bit of a spruce, if you will, to bring it into the modern day.
One thing we seriously dislike, is the fact that upon landing on the Totesport homepage, you are taken to a splash page rather than the main sportsbook. This is something bookies used to do back in the old days, and is designed to entice players in. Quite how, we’re not sure. It’s a nuisance, and it’s not even particularly clear on how to go forward and enter the sportsbook.
But once you do make your way in things get a little better. And credit where credit is due, the site loads fast and looks inoffensive enough. A predominantly black and green colour scheme creates a unique look and feel, and a typical navigation bar acts as your hub for moving around the site.
The help panel is another positive, and it’s really easy to get in touch with the support staff through either the live chat, by phone, or by email.
Hint: Be sure to check out the centre of the main Sports betting page, where you will find a variety of bets that are currently trending – that is, proving popular with other punters. Some of these will offer price boosts and enhanced odds (they are popular for a reason), so it’s worth keeping an eye on them.
The mobile betting experience has become a lot more important in recent years as players look to place bets and check their bet slips while on the move, and Totesport have ensured their players enjoy a high-quality, reliable mobile betting experience.
In fact, they have developed one of the best mobile gambling apps we have seen. While the app itself is relatively basic, it gets the job done quickly, and if you have logged in before you won’t have to enter your login details again as the App remembers them; allowing you to log in with only a Pin or Touch ID on Apple devices.
The design of the Apps (which are available for iOS and Android players) allow you to easily bet on thousands of markets every day, and carry out almost all account functions available on the regular site, including deposits and withdrawals, contacting support, and checking the progress and status of your open bets.
For punters who don’t have access to an iOS or Android device – or for those who simply don’t want to download an app – Totesport also operate a mobile website, which is optimised to run on all mobile internet browsers.
Accessing the mobile site is no different than accessing desktop site; as soon as you open Totesport in your mobile Internet Browser, you will be re-directed automatically to the mobile site. If for some reason this doesn’t happen, you can usually request the mobile site; a feature most browsers now have built into their menu/settings.
While we covered this briefly earlier, we want to dedicate this entire section to Pooled betting – something Totesport has exclusive rights to in the UK until 2018.
Below, we will look at what a betting pool actually is and what Totesport has to offer.
Pooled Betting: A Beginner’s Guide
Pooled betting is a form of betting known technically as pari mutuel betting. Instead of placing a bet, punters make a contribution to a pool or fund that all other players involved will also contribute to. The stake entered will be the same for all players, and once paid, you make your prediction on the outcome of the event. There are no odds involved, and the pools’ funds are split equally between the winners. For example:
If there was a horse race with 4 horses running, and 100 people staked £1 each, there would be £100 in the pool fund. Now, let’s imagine that 25 people voted for horse #1, 25 for horse #2, 25 for horse #3 and 25 for horse #4. The race is run and horse #1 wins. The 25 people who chose horse #1 would share the £100 pot.
Obviously, this doesn’t offer too much of an incentive to punters as there would be many winners, making the profit small at best; and that’s not to mention the unfairness of players who selected an outsider receiving no more, were there selection to win, than a punter who chose an odds-on favourite.
To combat this, Totesport operate 6-round jackpot pools. They work like this:
Totesport choose 6 horse races each day, all at the same track. All punters must select one horse from each race who they think will win or place. They then place their bet. £1 is equal to one ‘share’ of the pool, and is also the minimum bet. There is no ceiling to the number of shares you can buy.
If your selection wins or places in the first race, you move on to the second. Any other players who picked correctly will also progress, with those who chose a horse that didn’t win or place being knocked out.
This continues for six races, and at the end the players who are left share the jackpot. It’s a really fun concept, but it’s a lot harder than you might think to win. So, what will your selections be?
Payments & Limits
Totesport are pretty liberal with their payouts and betting limits, with the only real limit being their maximum daily win of £500,000. Even this, though, can be increased in the case of their special pooled jackpots, and the limits are some of the more favourable around; particularly attractive to higher-staking punters.
With regards to the payment options available at Totesport, there are a ton of them on offer, just some of which are: Bank Wire Transfer, EcoPayz, MasterCard, Neteller, Paysafe Card, Ukash, instaDebit, Visa, iDEAL, Sofortuberwaisung, POLi, Euteller, Trustly, Skrill, UseMyServices, WebMoney, and a number of others.
Disappointingly, withdrawals at Totesport aren’t the quickest, and you should expect to wait at least 24 hours before your withdrawal is processed.
History & About
Totesport are one of the oldest bookmakers in the world, being founded almost 90 years ago in 1928. In fact, they are one of the only bookmakers to have been trading during World War 2 who are still going today, and this longevity just goes to show how much they are loved and respected by players around the UK.
Totesport has a very unique and interesting history, as when it was founded gambling in the UK was completely illegal. Refusing to give up, however, Totesport came to an agreement with the UK Government, which allowed them to operate on the condition that they plough 10% of their profits back into the horse racing industry as a levy. Since that day, Totesport have been in consistent operation, and they are currently estimated to be the fourth biggest bookmaker in the United Kingdom. They are also renowned as being one of the most honest and transparent companies in the bookmaking world.
500 betting shops, and 4,000 staff also make Totesport one of the largest gambling related employers, although this may surprise some, as their shops aren’t commonly found outside of large Cities and towns, and many wrongly believe that they are an online only bookmaker.
The launch of the Totesport website kick-started their online operation, which grew to such an extent that in 2011 they agreed a deal agreed worth hundreds of millions of pounds with Betfred. Betfred took full control of Totesport, while Totesport retained the exclusive rights to host pooled-betting until 2018.
Note: If you haven’t read about the pooled-betting, be sure to check out the “Best Features” section earlier on in this post.
Since their acquisition, Totesport has continued to grow (note how Betfred chose to not re-brand the company, opting to keep the Totesport name alive), and they now offer one of the most comprehensive online sports books in the world, attracting millions of players each and every year.