Friday, December 16

Horse Racing

MSN Encarta - Search View - Horse Racing: "Betting is an important element in the popularity of horse racing. At different times in history four main types of betting have been popular: simple betting between individuals; sweepstakes betting, in which large entry fees, or stakes, are pooled and awarded to the winners; bookmaking, in which speculators offer odds against each horse and accept bets against their predictions; and pari-mutuel betting, which is the most widespread system and that used at the major American tracks. The designation pari-mutuel is a French phrase translated as “betting among ourselves.” Under the pari-mutuel system, which was developed in France during the 1860s, the betting odds on a given horse are derived from a comparison between the total amount wagered on the horse and the total wagered on all the horses in the race. The odds are automatically computed by a device called a totalizator, which posts them on a lighted tote board clearly visible to spectators. Odds are recomputed at approximately one-minute intervals until post time, when all bets must be placed and the pari-mutuel machines are locked. Winning tickets are cashed after the race’s results have been declared official, by which time computers have determined the payoffs. Pari-mutuel bettors can wager that a horse will win (finish first), place (finish first or second), or show (finish first, secon"

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