Meaning Behind the Word: Mutuel

A mutuel is a form of betting system in which all bets are pooled together, and the odds are determined by the total amount wagered on each outcome.


The term mutuel originates from the French word "mutuel", meaning mutual or shared.


In the realm of gambling and horse racing, the concept of mutuel betting emerged in the late 19th century, revolutionizing the way wagers were placed and payouts were calculated.

How it Works

In a mutuel betting system, the total amount wagered on each outcome is pooled together, and after deducting taxes and fees, the remaining pool is divided among the winning bets. This ensures that the odds reflect the actual betting activity, rather than being set by the house.


Here are some examples of mutuel betting:

  • Horse Racing: In horse racing, all bets on a particular race are pooled together, and the odds for each horse are determined by the total amount wagered on them.
  • Sports Betting: Some sports betting markets operate on a mutuel basis, where the odds fluctuate based on the betting activity.


The term mutuel encapsulates the idea of shared risk and reward in betting, where the outcome is determined collectively by the participants. Understanding the mutuel system is key to navigating various forms of betting and wagering.

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