Totesport was technically the United Kingdom’s first legal bookmaker, due to its government ownership from from1928 through to 2011, when it was privatised with the sale of the group to Betfred for a figure believed to be in the region of £265 million.
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In 1928 the group was created with the name ”The Racehorse Betting Control Board”, formed as part of the Racecourse Betting Act of 1928 to offer the public a genuine alternative to the backstreet bookmakers that had been found to be less than fair in many cases over the previous 25+ years. The trust that the majority of the UK public had in the government alone allowed the company to flourish, becoming a fairly important stream of income for the British economy during the period between the first and second world war’s. It was not until high street betting shops became legal in 1961 they had any real competition but even then they had a massive advantage over their competition.
The Tote, as they had affectionately become known, did not open a high street branch until 1972, some 11 years after they had become legal. The decision to remain exclusively at trackside for such a long period of time after the legalization of betting shops is one that is hotly debated to this day, with many feeling that it was a terrible piece of miss management by the government. However, with the company having a near monopoly on various pool betting syndicates, they remained in good health, well into the nineties.
The possible privatisation of The Tote was first publicly discussed in 1989 but was not truly acted upon until 2001, when the Labour Party made it one of their many manifesto commitments as they pressed for a second term under the banner of “New Labour”. Over the course of the next two terms, plans for the sale of The Tote were put into place and set in motion. However, it was not until 2011, while the UK was under the governance of the coalition between The Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, that the sale was actually finalized with Betfred. The company has since been rebranded to ToteSport.
Ways to Wager
Totesport currently accept bets via their website, telephone lines and more recently their iOS app, which is available from the Apple App Store. Their website is also accessible from almost any modern smartphone that has a web browser, which allows their customers to place their bets and collect their winnings from almost anywhere in the world.
Deposits and Withdrawals
At the time of writing, Totesport only accept Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron and Skrill Moneybookers. While the options are certainly more limited with Totesport than other bookmakers, many online bettors will have access to one of these methods of payment.
In addition to an extremely comprehensive help section, which contains an extensive list of frequently asked questions and a large knowledge base, Totesport also offer support via email and telephone across all of their brands.