If you don’t know much about horse racing or betting, don’t worry – let us teach you all about how to bet on horse racing! Let’s start with the basics; how do we actually place a bet on a horse to win a race?
So you’ve picked out a horse that you want to bet on; what now? First of all, it depends where you are. Betting on horse racing varies slightly depending on whether you’re at an actual racecourse, in a betting shop or using an online bookmaker.
The Betting Shop
Many people will experience betting on horse racing for the first time in their local betting shop, or to use the correct terminology, the Licensed Betting Office (LBO). The LBO may seem like a daunting place at first, but staff are always helpful and friendly, and they will be happy to help you fill in your betting slip – don’t be nervous!
Find a plain betting slip and write the name of the race at the top, the name of your horse and how much you want to bet. Your slip should say something like:
£10 to win
Now you will need to decide whether to take the current price, or the starting price. When you are betting on a horse race in an LBO, you will see the horses and their respective odds displayed on the screens (ask the cashier if you can’t see them). You are allowed to take the advertised price if you are happy with it, or you can leave it until after the race.
After every race, a starting price (often called the ‘SP’) will be assigned to each horse based on the odds that were available right at the beginning of the race. It may prove to be bigger than the advertised price when you place your bet, but of course, it could turn out to be smaller. It’s entirely up to you how to bet, but if you’re not sure, it’s usually best to simply take the current price.
To do this, simply tell the cashier that you would like to “take the price” and they will make a note of it on the slip. If you don’t specify that you wish to take the current price, they will assume that you want the SP.
You will now be given a receipt that should state your potential returns in the event of your horse winning. Keep it safe.
That’s how to bet on horse racing in a betting shop – easy!
Betting At The Racecourse
Most horse racing courses have small betting offices situated around the site, and betting on horse racing in these places is identical to any other LBO. But if you’re brave enough to venture into the betting ring – a hive of activity usually situated by the rails in front of the stands, near to the winning post – things are slightly different.
The main difference with betting on horse racing in the ring, is the price – you won’t have the option of taking the SP in the betting ring, you’ll simply be given whatever the odds are at the time the bet is struck.
Each bookmaker has their own pitch with a board displaying all of the horses names, numbers and prices for the upcoming race. The odds may vary from board to board, so it’s important that you shop around and get the best price that’s available at the time. Don’t take a lower price from one bookmaker just because you’re at the front of the queue. If his rival next door is offering a bigger price, go and get it!
To place your bet in the betting ring, clearly state the number of the horse to the bookmaker and the amount you wish to stake. You will then be handed a slip with the name and number of your horse, the odds and what your potential returns are should your horse win the race. Check that it’s the right horse and keep the receipt safe.
How To Bet Online
Betting on horse racing is even easier online, as there are no bits of paper to worry about and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your armchair! Simply visit your preferred online bookmaker, log in to your account and find the race that you wish to bet on.
Each bookmaker’s website is laid out differently, but the basics are the same. Somewhere on the screen will be an online equivalent of a betting slip and once you select your horse, its name will appear on the virtual slip. You can still choose between the current odds and the SP, which is usually altered with a simple drop-down menu, and then it’s just a case of entering your stake and confirming the bet.
Make sure to shop around all the different bookmakers, as the odds will vary and you should be trying to get the best available price. Also, many online bookmakers will offer promotions and free bets to attract your business – take advantage!
If you have any doubt about which online bookmaker to use, then a well known, reputable site like Ladbrokes is a good place to start (see our Ladbrokes review for more information). Their horse racing odds are quite competitive, but more importantly, you know that your money is in safe hands and that you won’t be scammed.