What is The Tote?
Tote Ireland Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Horse Racing Ireland, with responsibility for the operation of a Totalisator on the 24 racecourses in the Republic of Ireland. Tote Ireland is at the heart of Irish Horseracing, providing a wide variety of betting options for all race goers. All profits made by Tote Ireland are used for the improvement of Irish Horseracing.
Tote betting works like this: all the stakes on a race are pooled; a deduction is made to cover costs and our contribution to racing. The remainder of the pool is divided by the number of winning units to give a dividend (© TOTE IRELAND LTD.), which is inclusive of a €1 stake.
In other words, Tote Ireland customers bet into a common pool, betting against one another, whereas in bookmaking, they bet against the bookmaker. The Tote odds may fluctuate according to the pattern of betting and the amount of money staked on each horse. Betting ceases at the "off" of each race.
In 1929 the Totalisator Act was passed for mechanical pool betting in Ireland with the Totalisator borrowing 20,000IR punts from sponsored races. It's first meeting in Fairyhouse on the 21st of April 1930, offered win and place betting from 35 windows and had a Tote turnover of 5,035IR punts. By the end of 1930, with it's best meetings at Punchestown, The Curragh, Galway and Tramore, the Tote had sold a million tickets at 87 race meeting amassing 100,000IR punts.
In 1932 Tote Account was established, accepting bets by telegram. Also that year the Tote attracted investors to the company and seven years later in 1939 slot machines were introduced, operating a single machine for each horse. By their end in 1965 they had sold 60 million tickets.
1945 saw the forming of the Racing Board and in 1966 the Tote Jackpot Bet was introduced.
In 1987 computerised terminals were introduced and the IHA (Irish Horseracing Authority) was formed in 1994.
In 1999 the Tote launched their self service Touch Tote Terminals and only a year later in 2000 they took an amazing 1 million IR punts turnover for a single days racing, at the Galway festival on Thursday August 3rd. This record was broken at Galway in 2003, then in 2005 and once again in 2007, surpassing all previous records with a single race days take reaching €2,071,682.
In 2001 the Tote commenced co-mingling into UK Tote pools and in 2004 table service betting was introduced. Online wagering was introduced on the 14th December 2005.
Largest single Jackpot winner = €207k Leopardstown 20/11/1988
Best Winning Odds: 1177/1 Naas 30/11/1988
Best Exacta Odds: 8,107/1 Galway 01/08/2001
Largest take single race: €437,686.15 Galway 29/07/2004
Largest take single race day: €2,071,682 Galway 02/08/2007
Largest Place Dividend: €989.10 Navan 26/01/2008