Newspaper Targets Tote's Takeout in Great Britain

A conflict over the level of deductions taken from pool betting by the Tote in Great Britain has erupted after an investigation by the Racing Post newspaper.

The daily racing publication criticized the 24% deduction by the Tote from place pools at Great Britain's 59 racecourses, as well as the 24% for the exacta and the 29% for the trifecta and jackpot. The Racing Post argued that the deductions are high compared to those in other jurisdictions, particularly pari-mutuel takeout in the United States.

The only Tote deduction that won praise was the 16% for win pools.

The Tote, which has a monopoly on horseracing pool betting in Great Britain, relies on associate company Tote Direct, which has major bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral as major shareholders with the Tote to sell much of its product off-course in betting shops.

Tote Direct gives high commission to bookmakers, which limits the Tote's stated intention of lowering deductions.

David Ashforth of the Racing Post commented: "(Bettors) are missing out badly because the Tote is overcharging -- and action needs to be taken now."