The state-owned gambling system at Irish race courses is linking up with the world's biggest online betting exchange, Betfair. The Tote system, traditionally only available at track-sides, will now be available to more than two million customers around the globe via Internet through the Betfair site.

The deal between the state-controlled Horse Racing Ireland and the internet betting company is widely seen as a significant development in the industry. Alexis Murphy, Tote Ireland chief executive, said the link-up should put more cash in the pool for gamblers.

Using the funds in their accounts, Betfair customers will be able to bet directly into the Irish Tote's pools on all markets, including Tote Win, Place & Each Way, Tote Forecast, Tote Trio and the Tote Jackpot and Placepot.

Betfair has previously done partnership deals with both the UK and Australian Totes.

Murphy said: "Tote pools offer unique products and features which should be highly appealing to Betfair customers. In consequence, we anticipate this agreement will further enhance liquidity in the Tote's pools and help us further increase our contribution to Irish racing."

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