How do I place a bet?

To place a bet, legally, on horse racing in Britain, you must do so with a licensed bookmaker. Some licensed bookmakers, including the so-called ‘Big Three’ – William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral – are household names, but there are plenty of others plying their trade on the High Street, on racecourses up and down the country and online.

Placing a bet in a betting shop involves writing the name of your selection, the time and meeting at which it is running, the type of bet you wish to place and the amount you wish to stake on a betting slip and handing it to a cashier behind the counter. In return, you will receive a receipt – nowadays, typically a duplicate of your original betting slip – which you must hand back to the cashier, after the race, for payment in the event that your bet is a winner.

On-course bookmakers display the odds available on the next race on a electronic display board, so placing a bet simply involves approaching the bookmaker and stating, clearly, the racecard number of your selection, the type of bet you wish to place – that is, win or each-way – and the amount you wish to stake. In return, you will receive a printed receipt bearing the details of your bet, which you must present to the bookmaker after the race – after the horses have ‘weighed in’ – to receive any winnings.

Placing a bet online involves opening an account with the bookmaker of your choice and registering an appropriate credit or debit card, by means of which you will fund the account. Terms and conditions, including minimum deposit and withdrawal amounts, maximum payouts and so on, vary from one online bookmaker to another, so make sure that they are acceptable before committing to opening an account. Thereafter, placing a bet is as simple as clicking on the name of your selection – which will be added to an electronic betting slip – clicking the type of bet you wish to place, entering your stake amount and clicking another button to confirm your bet. You will be able to view your list of ‘open’ bets at any time and any winnings will automatically be credited to your account when each bet is settled.