Betting on Horse Races: Win, Place and Exacta – What Does It Mean?

The buzz surrounding the Kentucky Derby this year has been unprecedented. The race is arguably the most important of the season, and bookmakers have responded by providing better odds for the coveted crown.

The excitement is understandable – after all, this year’s race is being touted as the best in decades. The pre-race polls suggest that fans are inclined to agree. Several leading contenders are attracting increasing interest, with Bodog’s Irish Thunderball topping the field with 16 nominations.

So, as we’ve established – the Kentucky Derby is worth wagering on. Even if you’ve never been there or done that, you’ll undoubtedly know what happens at the end of the race.

But just how relevant is the Derby really to British (and Irish) gamblers?

We investigated the betting statistics for the Derby and the other major UK flat races, to explore the patterns and trends in wagering.

Horse-racing Is A Hobby For Many In The UK

The information we obtained from showed that gambling is a popular hobby among the British. In fact, a 2017 NPD survey found that 28% of the UK’s population are regular or occasional gamblers. Another 26% said they would consider themselves gamblers, but don’t necessarily indulge in the activity.

This group may represent the ideal customers for a UK bookmaker. And, indeed, they are. Across the industry, UK sportsbooks offer a wide range of wagering options, with over 140 markets available for football, horse racing and other popular sporting events.

Now, it’s important to stress that this group is largely recreational. The UK Laws Against Gaming specifically prohibit gambling by companies or public organizations (including sports organizations) on sporting events.

This legislation was put in place to protect people from betting abuse – that is, situations where a bookmaker takes advantage of an individual or group of people. But it’s also clear that the industry has heeded the warnings and instituted sufficient measures to prevent betting abuses. For example, all UK bookmakers now offer ​responsible gambling​​ options, such as social betting, which limits wagers to certain amounts and times of day.

On the subject of betting abuses, the UK Gambling Commission has stated: “The Government’s support for a regulated and tested social gambling market is a clear indication that this area of gambling is being treated with the seriousness it deserves, and this will be good for consumers.”

The Increasing Popularity Of Fixed Odds

Perhaps the most significant development in the UK sports betting industry over the past year has been the increased popularity of fixed odds betting. Essentially, these are bets where you stake a set amount of money and the house pays off whatever is left over at the end of the game. For example, you could place a £10 fixed odds bet on Manchester United to win the Premier League. The odds of United winning will be fixed at 2.0 (2/1) at the time of the bet. If Manchester United do in fact win the league, your winnings will be £20 (10/1).

These types of bets were once the preserve of serious gamblers and high rollers, but thanks to the advances in technology platforms, mobile apps and websites, betting on fixed odds has become much more accessible. Especially as betting exchanges, which are the central marketplace for fixed odds bets, are now available to all consumers via smartphones.

The rise of fixed odds betting has been accompanied by a decline in gambling debts in the UK. According to the latest figures from the British Gambling Commission, there were 269,000 financial year losses from real money wagering in 2016-17 – a drop of 17% compared to the previous financial year. The total amount of losses was £12.9 billion, with only a slight rise in the number of complaints received.

This appears to be a positive trend, as the UKGC has stated: “This underlines the important role played by consumer protection measures, such as independent betting advice, written details of terms and conditions and codes of practice, to ensure that every consumer understands their rights and is confident enough to exercise them.”

UK Bookmakers Offer A Variety Of Markets

Looking at the odds for the major UK sports – the popularity of fixed odds in football and the increasing interest in other sports like horse racing – one thing is clear: UK bookmakers cover almost every possible sporting event, from the major UK football leagues, to golf tournaments and tennis events. So, if you like to wager on sports, you’ll certainly find the perfect home at a UK bookmaker.

This provides convenience for gamblers, as there’s more than enough choice to choose from. But it also means, as a consumer, you’re likely to be frustrated by indecision if you don’t know where to turn. With so much competition, it’s essential to do your homework before placing any bets, to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. And that means shopping around for the best possible odds, rather than accepting whatever is on offer.

Shopping around for the best possible odds should be a priority for all gamblers. This doesn’t mean going through every single bookmaker in the UK, as that would be a waste of time. You’d be better off focusing on finding the best deals around specific events and competitions.

Horse Racing In Ireland Is Also Popular

The Irish have always been famous for their football skills and for getting caught up in the moment when a big game is on. But it seems that gambling on horse racing is also very popular in Ireland. The four main flat racing series – the Derby, the Irish Derby, the Grand Prix and the Leo Widener Stakes – have all witnessed an increase in public interest this year.

The Irish Derby attracted the most attention, with its 2020 edition set to be the best in decades. Several leading contenders are expected to give the crown a good shake this year. And with the Indian Derby set to return this year following its absence due to the pandemic, public interest in the Irish Derby looks set to continue.

Which Sports Outlet Is The Most Popular In The UK?

To find out which sports betting outlet is the most popular in the UK, we looked at the odds for the most popular sportsbooks and the amount of money placed on each service over the past season.

The results of our analysis, which you can find at the end of this article, suggest that Unibet is the most popular gambling website in the UK. With 11.1 million bets placed in the last financial year, the online bookmaker attracted nearly a quarter of all wagers made on the four major UK sports. The Irish Derby, for which Unibet is also the title sponsor, was the second most popular sporting event, followed by Formula One, golf and tennis.

Interestingly, the Premier League was the least popular of the four major UK sports in terms of wagers placed, attracting just 2.3 million bets – a drop of 12% compared to the previous year. One factor behind this could be the uncertainty surrounding the future of the league, as several franchise owners are looking for alternatives to continue playing in this country.

Considering the UK as a whole, the information we have suggests that horse racing is a popular sport, as 28% of the population are regular or occasional gamblers. And at least 20 of the top 50 UK-based bookmakers offer fixed odds, so it’s clear that this trend is here to stay. If you’re a fan of the sport, you might want to consider betting on horse racing, as there’s more than enough choice, and it’s reasonably affordable.