In the UK & Internationally
Outside of North America a place bet, in horseracing, is usually a wager for your selection to come 1st, 2nd or 3rd. But this does depend on the number of selections in the event. If there are only a few runners then a place may be defined as your selections coming 1st or 2nd. If there are very few runners (usually less than five) then place betting may not be available. Sometimes, when there are a lot of selections in the event, the place terms may state that if you back your selection to place then it needs to be placed in one of the first four positions for your bet to have won.
When you are betting with an online bookmaker, the place terms will be stated on the event in question so you will know beforehand how many places count for place betting purposes.
In North America
In North America, particularly in North American horse racing, a Place Bet has a slightly different meaning.
Here they have the choice of placing a bet to win, place or show. In this instance the Place Bet strictly means that your selection must come either first or second for your Place Bet to pay out. Now see what a Show Bet is:
What is a Show Bet?
A Show Bet is a bet for your horse to finish either first, second or third in a horserace. This term ‘Show Bet’ is unique to North America. In most of the rest of the world there is a simple choice between a win bet and a place bet. In North America, the Place Bet means to be placed just 1st or 2nd only while the Show Bet means to be placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd. The North American Tote betting system will give different dividends for each horse that finishes in the first three:
- The winning horse: The winning horse will get a Win Dividend, a Place Dividend and a Show dividend.
- The second horse: will get a a Place Dividend and a Show dividend (because win bets on it have obviously lost).
- The third horse: Will get a Show dividend only (because win bets and place bets on it have obviously lost).
A good online racebook for Americans is at: Bovada Sportsbook