Members have responsibilities to customers, shareholders, regulators, national governments, and society as a whole.

Beyond legal obligations, our members are committed to maintaining a balance between their commercial objectives and social responsibility, including the promotion of responsible gambling and funding for horseracing.

Tote betting is differentiated from fixed odds betting worldwide

Tote betting represents more than 70% of the total legal horserace betting worldwide.

A large majority of horseracing stakeholders around the world recognise the benefits of the Tote betting model as the best tool to preserve, develop and fund their industry. Due to the fundamental differences in the betting model, and the absence of an adversarial relationship between the operator and the customer, governments and regulators worldwide differentiate pool betting from fixed odds betting in terms of risk evaluation and therefore regulation, and regard it as a central component to the health and wellbeing of the horseracing sector.

In certain jurisdictions, including France, Singapore, Norway, Canada and Hong Kong, and until relatively recently Australia and US (fixed-odd is permitted only in New Jersey – 21 June 2021), Tote betting was the only form of regulated betting permissible on horseracing.

This enables risk to be consistently evaluated and a concentration of revenue back into the sport at all levels within those jurisdictions. 

The differentiation between these betting models has, however, been preserved across the WoTA membership and we note certain jurisdictions, notably Sweden, have begun to differentiate further with consideration of the hierarchy of risk and therefore regulatory approach between these betting models.

Tote betting and the unique benefits for horseracing

The consistency of the pool betting model and rules across pool operators worldwide is also seen as a major advantage for the sport of horseracing.  Consistency of rules enables collaboration and for Tote operators to work together in the interests of promoting horseracing.  Working in close collaboration with the horseracing industry and local media rights owners, Tote operators are able to promote greater interest in their local horseracing product and thereby generate greater awareness, and indeed revenues, for their local sport through global interest.

By way of example, customers in leading racing nations, including UK, Ireland, Sweden and Hong Kong can all watch the Epsom Derby at the same time and through collaboration between Tote operators, customers watching the race can bet into the same pool, thereby supporting promotion of the race to a global audience. This mechanism is called “World Pool” which commenced in 2019 and is continuing to expand each year.

The social responsibility of tote betting

WoTA members ensure Tote betting benefits customers and supports the sport of horseracing. Beyond legal obligations, members are committed to acting in a socially responsible manner.  This includes:

  • European Tote betting operators returning €1.2 billion to horseracing every year. This supports a healthy horseracing industry in Europe, whose economic impact is estimated at €12 billion (€40 billion for betting), creating some 155,000 direct (and predominantly rural) jobs and generating €1.5bn of Governmental income through betting tax alone[1]; and
  • WoTA members contributing to the funding of other components of the equestrian sector. Swedish and Norwegian Tote betting operators support their equestrian Olympic teams; in both these countries, as well as France, operators also make a major contribution towards education in equine related professions (for example blacksmiths, saddlers, riding schools etc); SOREC in Morocco finances the construction of equestrian infrastructures (racetracks, large exhibition grounds, training centres), the development of equestrian art, horse shows, equi-therapy; and the Hong Kong Jockey Club donates to 210 charitable and community projects into four major area – Community Services, Education and Training, Medical and Health, and Sports, Recreation and Culture; and
  • Many WoTA members contribute to the research, education and treatment of problem gambling including in UK, Hong Kong, France and Finland.

Recognition of the principle of sustainable statutory funding

In many European countries, the trend of the past 15 years had been to recognise the principle of funding the horseracing industry. In countries where the reform of the gaming market opened to new players and new games, decision makers made attempt to preserve the horseracing industry by maintaining the statutory funding with a percentage from betting being returned to the Racing organisers (France, Denmark, Germany and United Kingdom).

Horseracing as an ‘Objective of Common Interest’

Horseracing industry in Europe, whose economic impact is estimated at €12 billion (€35 billion for betting), is creating some 155,000 direct (and predominantly rural) jobs and generating €1.5bn of Governmental income through betting tax alone[2];

Trotting races in Europe represents an important asset for agriculture activities and regional development.[3]

  • Horse racing and horse betting are international activities,
  • The cost of horse racing is conceived in the long term and the investment for the quality and the integrity of the horseraces completes the simple maintenance of the infrastructures and the organisations of events,
  • The financial return on betting only on local races is nonsense – in many countries, 35 to 65% of the stakes are on foreign races,

Avoiding the differences between taxation as it creates betting competition and divert gambling operators to other forms of wagering or virtual betting (cheaper),

[1] Horseracing in Europe – European & Mediterranean Horseracing Federation

[2] Horseracing in Europe – European & Mediterranean Horseracing Federation

[3] European Trotting Union publication