With the Restoration of the American Wire Act under discussion in the United States, the future of all forms of betting through any types of telecommunication lines is in danger. This means that, even though some states have decided to regulate instead of ban online gambling in one form or another, federal laws might overturn their plans and ban this profitable activity completely. There are some exceptions from the rule, of course: state lotteries might be allowed to expand online, and there is a carve-out for fantasy sports and parimutuel or pooled horse race betting in the bill. So, let’s take a look at pool betting to see what we will be restricted to if the bill gets through.
Pool betting is a form of sports betting – horse racing is considered a sport, so it fits – where players don’t actually bet against the bookmaker on the outcome of the event, but against each other. All bet amounts are introduced into a pool (a pot, so to say). Players place bets of equal amounts on one or another outcome of the event, and all the players who have placed their bets on the right one share all the money in the pot, but only after the wagering company deduces its commission of the total.
Let’s take an example – a horse race with four horses running. Players place their bets on each horse participating in the race, up to a total of $1000, as follows:
– #1: $320
– #2: $250
– #3: $150
– #4: $180
Once the event starts, there are no more bets are accepted. When the event ends, and the result is known (in our case it’s #3), the payout is calculated. First, the betting company deduces its commission from the total – say, 15%, which means that the win pool is down to ($1000-$150=$750). The remaining amount is distributed evenly among all those players who have placed bets on the right outcome: $750/$150=$5 – meaning that each player who bet on #3 will get $5 for each $1 they bet. Translated to odds, this means 4 to 1, or 5.01.
Unlike many forms of gambling in Australian online mobile casinos and sportsbooks, players bet against each other rather than the house.
In horse racing, especially when it comes to high profile, popular races, the pool amount can reach considerable amounts. One of the best known pool bets in the UK is the Totepool, formerly the Horserace Totalisator Board, which has a pool bet called Scoop6 every Sunday that has win funds of millions of pounds every week. Pool betting or parimutuel betting is popular in many countries around the world, and soon it might be the only form of proper sports betting (aside from bets on fantasy sports) to be allowed to be practiced in the United States.