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Adam Bjorn explains pari-mutuel wagers in horserace gambling

Adam Bjorn discusses pari-mutuel wagers in horserace gambling and why they have withstood the test of time.

San José, Costa Rica – WEBWIRE
Adam Bjorn
Adam Bjorn

Since the probable odds available when a wager is placed are likely to change, there’s a chance that, by the end of the race, the wager has less value than was originally expected.

There are a number of ways gamblers can play the odds to win at horse races. Some of the most common, particularly in the US, are betting against the house for a gambler’s favorite horse to win, place or show, or through a combination of options. However, bettors don’t always have to play against the house, or the track, to win big.
Pari-mutuel betting is widespread across the globe and is always a standard alternative. Adam Bjorn, a gaming industry executive and expert on horserace gambling, explains the specifics behind pari-mutuel bets and what makes them a favorite among gamblers.
Pari-mutuel bets are also referred to as pool bets. Instead of placing a bet with the house, which could be a track or a bookmaker, gamblers place bets against other gamblers in a particular event. The money collected goes into a pool, and those whose horse wins the race split the pool when the event is complete. As is usually the case with bets, the house will keep a small percentage of the pool for facilitating the bet.
Placing pari-mutuel bets is not as easy as placing other tops of bets. Says Bjorn, “It’s difficult to use any given strategy when making pari-mutuel bets since there are no fixed odds. The payout will ultimately depend on how many bettors joined the pool and many picked the correct winner. In addition, the amount to be divided among the winners usually isn’t calculated until after the race is closed to wagers. However, it still remains one of the more popular options in horserace betting because of the challenges and payouts that are possible.”
Although there are no fixed odds before the race, bookmakers will provide probable odds. These are based on the betting pool that is already in place when the gambler places his or her bet. Since the pool could attract more attention heading into the race, these probable odds are likely to change before the event gets underway. Following the completion of the race, the winnings will be paid based on the final odds, and each individual bettor will receive a percentage based on the amount wagered.
Because the fixed odds aren’t available, it becomes more difficult to determine the possible value of the wager. Gamblers usually determine the value of a particular bet in the gambling market before placing their wager in order to know the return. However, pari-mutuel wagers, by nature, don’t have set value, adding an element of surprise to the wager. Adds Bjorn, “Since the probable odds available when a wager is placed are likely to change, there’s a chance that, by the end of the race, the wager has less value than was originally expected.”
As with other forms of horserace betting, there are different types of pari-mutuel wagers available. Gamblers can bet for a horse to win, place or show, or can select an “across the board” wager. In the latter, which is primarily only seen in the US, the gambler chooses one of the three different types. If the horse wins, all three parts of the wager are paid; if the horse finishes second (or places), then the place and show wagers are paid. If the horse finishes third (shows), only the show wager is paid.
There are also “Each way,” “Exacta” and Trifecta bets. Explains Bjorn, “An Each way bet is a type of combination wager mostly found outside the US. It allows a gambler to combine a win wager and a place wager to increase the potential winnings. The exacta bet is used to select two horses to finish first and second, and they have to finish in that order for the bet to be paid. With a trifecta wager, the gambler is predicting the first three finishers in a specific order to win the bet.”
Pari-mutuel bets were reportedly introduced in 1867 and have become commonplace at most tracks around the world. Until recently, most pari-mutuel operators were state-owned and were used to generate revenues for the local governments. However, this has changed over time, and it is now possible to find pari-mutuel wagers in many commercial sports gambling operations.
About Adam Bjorn
Adam Bjorn has been involved in the gaming industry for the past two decades. Originally from Australia, he has led casino and gaming operations for a number of different companies and has advanced knowledge of risk management, compliance, customer service, security & fraud detection, operations and general overall casino management. In his spare time, he is an avid outdoorsman who is always looking for a new adventure.

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 Adam Bjorn

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