Betting Jargon


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APPROXIMATES - The approximate price a horse is quoted at before a race begins. Bookmakers use these approximates as a guide to set their boards.

BACK - To bet or wager. An investor is often referred to as having backed a particular horse.

BACKED IN - See shorten. A horse which is backed in means that investors have outlaid a lot of money on that horse, with the result being a decrease in the odds offered.

BEST BET - A horse which is considered to have a good all round chance of winning a race or running a place. A best bet may be an investors own choice, or a horse that has been highlighted by a tipster or selection panel.

BET - A transaction in which monies are deposited or guaranteed.

BETTING BOARD - A board used by the bookmaker to display the odds of the horses engaged in a race.

BLOW - When the odds of a horse increase rapidly. This means the horse is very unfavoured by investors, often because they are heavily backing another runner. Therefore the odds of the unfavoured horse are increased, often to counter balance the odds of the favoured runner which decrease because of its popularity.

BOARD ODDS - The odds offered by a bookmaker, which are listed on his or her betting board.

BOOKIE'S HOPE - See outsider. An outsider is sometimes referred to as the bookie's hope, because if the unfavoured and lightly backed horse was to win the race (as opposed to the favourite which would be heavily backed) the bookie would come out ahead (through paying less to investors than he/she would if the favourite won).

BOOKMAKER (BOOKIE) - A person registered and licensed by the controlling body to bet with the public at licensed harness racing meetings held within its jurisdiction.

CALCUTTA - A betting event where the names of runners in a particular race are "auctioned off" to the highest bidder. The people who purchase the winner and placegetters then receive a percentage of the pool of bidding monies.

DEDUCTIONS - When a horse is scratched from a race after betting on that race has already started, deductions are taken out of the win and place bets at a rate in proportion to the odds of the scratched horse.

DIVIDEND - The amount that a winning or placed horse returns for every $1 bet by the investor.

DRIFT - When the odds of a horse increase. A drifter is a horse which, for example, is given an opening price of 2-1 but is unfavoured by investors, so its odds are increased to say 4-1 in an effort to attract investors. Drifting is also known as easing.

EACH WAY CHANCE - A horse which has a good chance of winning or finishing in second or third place in a race. Because it's not considered to be a sure thing, punters will back an each way chance for a win and a place, which means they will get a return if it finishes in the top three.

EQUAL FAVOURITE - A horse which is as popular as another runner in a race, which is deemed to have an equal chance of winning. Naturally, as equal favourites, they will be quoted at the same odds.

EVEN MONEY - When the bookmaker's or totalisator's stake is equal to the investor's stake. For example a winning $1 bet on a horse that is quoted at 1-1 or even money, would give the investor $1, plus his or her original dollar, making a total return of $2 for the $1 outlay.

FAVOURITE - The most popular horse in a race, which is quoted at the lowest odds because it is deemed to have the best chance of winning the race.

FIXED ODDS - When investing with the totalisator, the public essentially bet against each other, not against fixed odds, therefore dividends can fluctuate dependent upon investment.

GOOD THING - See sure thing.

GOT THE MONEY - The winner of a race is the horse that ‘got the money'.

HOLD ALL TICKETS - If the all clear has been deferred by the Stewards in order to investigate certain aspects of the race, no dividends can be paid out. Therefore, investors are told to hold all tickets until a race has been given the all clear and the official placings declared.

IN THE RED - A term for odds on, because these odds are shown in red on the betting boards.

INVESTOR - A person at a licensed race meeting who bets with a bookmaker or the totalisator, or a person not present at the meeting, but places bets on the horses engaged at that meeting with the off-course totalisator.

JACKPOT - Occurs in bet types such as superfectas when no investors select the winning combination. The monies invested into this superfecta pool are then carried over to the next suitable superfecta race.

LATE MAIL - On the day of the race meeting, tipsters declare the final selection of horses which they believe have the best chance of winning each race. This allows for things like late scratchings and driver changes - which may have an affect on a tipster's original thoughts as to the likely winner of each race - to be taken into account. These tips are known as the late mail.

LAYING A HORSE - When a bookmaker takes a risk and increases the odds of a particular horse to entice investors because the bookmaker truly believes that horse has no chance of winning the race.

LAY OFF - Bets made by one bookmaker with another bookmaker, in an effort to reduce his liability in respect of bets already laid by him with investors.

LONG SHOT - See outsider. An outsider is often referred to as being a long shot, because of the fact it is returning high odds and is therefore deemed to have little chance of winning the race.

MARKET - The list of all horses engaged in a race and their respective odds.

NO THIRD DIVIDEND - Occurs when there is seven or less runners in a race. In this situation, dividends will only be paid out on the horse's which finish in first and second place.

ODDS - The figure or fraction by which a bookmaker or totalisator offers to multiply an investor's stake - which, plus his or her own stake, the investor is entitled to receive if they invest on the winner of a race.

ODDS AGAINST - When the bookmaker's or totalisator's stake is greater than the investor's stake. For example, a horse that is quoted at 4-1 would be odds against, because if it wins a race, the bookmaker or totalisator returns $4 for every dollar an investor places on that horse, plus his or her original outlay.

ODDS ON - When the resulting dividend will be less than an investor's stake, meaning the bookmaker or totalisator returns a smaller stake. For example, placing a winning $1 bet on a horse that is 2-1 on would give the investor 50 cents plus his or her original dollar, making a total return of $1.50 for the $1 outlay.

ON COURSE TOTE - The totalisator which is situated at the track itself and utilises monies bet on course.

OFF THE MAP - A horse which has been sensationally backed is referred to as being backed off the map. This means numerous investors have placed substantial bets on that particular horse, resulting in a dramatic decrease in odds.

OUTLAY - The money an investor bets or wagers is called their outlay.

OUTSIDER - A horse whose chances of winning a race are not considered to be very strong. An outsider is usually quoted at the highest odds.

PLUNGE - Related to backed off the map. The numerous substantial investments made on such a horse are referred to as a betting plunge.

PHONE BETTING - A service enabling punters to bet on horses with bookmakers by using telephones.

PHONE TAB - Another phone betting service, provided by a totalisator which allows people with special betting accounts to place bets via the telephone. Much the same as a bank account, you must have a credit balance to be able to place a bet. The cost of the investment is debited from your account, and winning dividends and refunds are automatically credited to your account.

PUNT - Another term for bet or wager.

PUNTER - Another term for investor. A person who places bets.

PUNTERS CLUBS - Clubs set up by racing clubs and other organisations which allow punters the chance to invest money into a pool, which will then be utilised by an industry person to make large bets on selected races at a meeting. A dividend will be declared for each share purchased by an investor.

RATINGS - Tipsters may determine a set of ratings which reflect, in their opinion, each runner's chance of winning a particular race. They may take a number of factors into account when preparing them.

ROUGHIE - See outsider. A horse which is considered to have a ‘rough' chance of winning a race.

SELECTIONS - The horses selected by a knowledgeable person (tipster) to have the most likely chance of finishing in first, second and third place. This may also refer to a person's own selections - the horses they have chosen to back.

SET THE BOARD - When a bookmaker completes the information shown on the betting board, by listing each runner in a race and their respective odds, he or she is referred to as having set the board.

SHORTEN - When the odds of a horse decrease, usually because a lot of money has been wagered on that horse. A shortener is a horse which opens at a specific price at the start of betting, and is at a lower price when betting closes.

SHORT PRICE - Low odds, meaning a punter will get little return for their initial outlay.

STAKES - The sums of money deposited or guaranteed by the parties to a bet.

SURE THING - A horse which an investor (punter) or tipster believes is unbeatable in a race.

SWEEPSTAKES - Type of betting whereby each horse in a race is drawn out of a hat by a particular person (who pays a set amount of money for the privilege of buying a horse). The people which chose the winner and placegetters will receive a percentage of the total money pool.

TAB - Totalisator Agency Board. The body appointed to regulate off-course betting (bets made by people who are not present at the race track).

TAKING A SET - When a bookmaker increases the odds of a favoured horse, which he or she believes can't win the race, in order to receive more bets.

TICKET - The betting slip or ticket which is received by the investor from the bookmaker or totalisator, as proof of his or her wager. The ticket is used to collect any dividends.

TIPS - See selections.

TIPSTER - A person who makes selections for a race, providing tips on which horses they believe will fill the first three places.

TOTE - Totalisator. The organisation appointed to receive bets and supply dividends in proportion to the amount of the investment.

UNBACKABLE - A horse which is quoted at short odds that investors decide is too short to return any reasonable amount for the money they outlay.

WAGER - Another term for bet.

These descriptions are not intended to be full, official definitions, but are designed to assist newcomers to the sport.


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