In the US, only about 20% of total wagering is in the win pool. In Australia about 50% of all wagering is in the win pool. In the UK it is not dissimilar.
Yep, these folks bet more than half of every dollar in those pools.
In those countries, wagering a little to win a little is the goal for a lot of big players, with the obvious hope that at the end of the year you have more money than you started with.
Why is win money so well bet in those jurisdictions? I have a few theories.
- It's a more mature gambling market. Win takeouts are low, and choosing a winner (and betting a sizeable chunk of bankroll, like 4%), pays dividends over time. If you're good, you win, and the win market is the best place to exploit your handicapping skill. This is learned over time in a mature market.
- Field size is much higher than in the US. Why would you concentrate on a pick 3 when you have a 15 horse field in front of you and the horse you like is a 5-1 favorite? Bet your 3% on him or her, grab the $12 mutuel, and look for your next nice priced horse; it's probably in the next race.
- Choice. You have the tote, the bookies and the exchanges. You have three points of entry into a market, not only one. Cars make more than one brand because more than one brand sells more cars.
- The odds don't change after the bell. You handicapped all evening and made your odds lines. You love the three at Monmouth at anything over 5-2. He's 7-2 loading so you hammer the horse and he goes to 2-1, making him a terrible bet. If you're a serious bettor it's not about picking winners and never has been about picking winners. It's about making the right choice at a right price.
I surmise it's one of the reasons handle is better over there, and customers last longer, with more satisfaction. Cashing tickets and feeling like you have a shot to beat the game, is, in itself, what the game is about.