Unlike other games of chance, horse racing gives just under 80% of the money wagered back to the bettors, which greatly exceeds the payoff in most other games of chance. Provincial and federal governments take their share in taxes and the track retains a certain amount to cover administrative costs. When you place a bet, therefore, you’re betting against the other bettors. Like a bank, the track collects the amounts wagered. When you win, the money comes from the money the other bettors lost. Conversely, if you lose, your money minus the commissions noted above goes to those who picked the winners.
There are various types of bets:
Your horse has to finish FIRST. This is the simplest type of bet and your chances of winning are high.
Your horse has to finish FIRST or SECOND. This type of wager is just as straightforward as the Win bet. It will increase your chances of winning because the horse you pick can finish first or second. However, since your chances of winning are higher, the payoff will be less than with a Win bet.
Your horse has to finish FIRST, SECOND or THIRD. As in the previous bets, this type of bet will increase your chances of winning because the horse you pick can finish first, second or third. But the payout for a Show win will be less than for a Win or a Place.
You have to pick the first and second place finishers in the exact order. This is a very appealing bet, because the potential payoff is high and your chances of winning are fairly respectable.
You have to pick three horses to finish first, second and third in the exact order. This highly popular bet offers a significant payoff, but more limited chances of winning.
You have to pick the winners of two consecutive races. Once quite popular, the Daily Double is a test of your knowledge.
You have to pick the WINNERS OF THREE CONSECUTIVE RACES. This type of bet can pay off handsomely, but selecting the winner in three consecutive races is a major challenge.
You have to pick the WINNERS IN FOUR CONSECUTIVE RACES. The payoff for Pick 4 is huge, but you have to be a real horseracing pro to pick the winning horse in four consecutive races.