Betting on the horses can be a fun and exciting past-time, provided you only bet what you can afford to lose. There are three main ways to bet on the horses – at the track, in a betting shop or online, and each is slightly different.
With any bet, however, it often pays to shop around to get the best odds for your selection by comparing different bookies, shops or websites before making your final decision.
Once you have made your selection and found the best odds, simply approach the bookmaker and state clearly the number of the horse, the type of bet you wish to make and the amount of your stake. Remember that each-way bets are double, so if you ask for a £2 each-way bet it will cost you £4.
Bookies at the racecourse only take bets for the next upcoming race so you will have to go back each time, but you won’t need to state which race you want to bet on. Be sure to hang onto your ticket as that’s the only way you can claim your winnings.
Other than at the Tote, you will usually only be able to place win and each-way bets with most bookies. There will be a minimum bet, which is usually £2 but some bookies will take £1 bets – if so, they will advertise this.
Placing a bet in a betting shop
To place a bet in a betting shop you need to collect a slip. These are usually stored on counters or in wall brackets.
Fill in the slip with the name of the racecourse or meeting, the time of the race you wish to bet on, the name of your selected horse, the amount you wish to stake and the type of bet that you are placing.
You then hand this to the cashier and receive a receipt, often a photocopy of your slip. You will need this in order to collect your winnings if your horse comes in, so hold onto it carefully.
One advantage to online betting is that the minimum stakes are often a lot lower than at the racecourse or in the betting shop. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before you sign up.
You need to know what the minimum deposit and withdrawal amounts are, if there are any maximum payouts, whether they accept your preferred credit or debit card, and any other rules that might affect your decision.
As an added incentive, many online bookmakers offer deposit match schemes for your first deposit, such as make a £10 bet and get another £10 bet for free.
Whether you prefer to size up the different bookies by the trackside or decide between the horses online, placing a bet on a horse race is easy. Whatever form your receipt takes (an email or a betting slip), keep a tight hold on it – you might need it if your horse performs well!