Paddy Power Defends Taking Bets on Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial: Angry Tweets

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
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Paddy Power Defends Taking Bets on Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial: Angry Tweets

Controversial Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has defended its decision to offer betting on the outcome of Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial.

Pistorius, a paraplegic runner, claims he shot into a locked bathroom believing an intruder had entered the residence he shared with Steenkamp.  Instead he fatally wounded his girlfriend.

Paddy Power began offering a “money back guarantee” on the Pistorius trial should he be acquitted. 

Folks have taken to the Twitterverse to express their disgust at Paddy for offering this type of wagering opportunity.  Some have called Paddy’s decision to do so “vile”.

Paddy Power added fuel to the fire by capitalizing on Sunday night's Academy Awards to feature an advertisement of Pistorius in the form of an Oscar statuette with the caption: “Oscar Time. Money back if he walks. We will refund all losing bets on the Oscar Pistorius trial if he is found not guilty”.

The United Kingdom's strict ad code enforcement agency has yet to take action against Paddy for what many deemed to be a tasteless advert.  In the past, Paddy has been reprimanded for featuring virile dwarfs in ads.

“Whoa, Paddy Power, you vile institution,” one Tweet read.

Sam Hollis tweeted: "May I assure everyone slagging off #PaddyPower that they treat their staff with the same level of disdain and disrespect as Reeva Steenkamp.”

Mr. Neil Kulkarni: "A woman died: #PaddyPower hang your heads in shame. Top bantz wankers."

Some have expressed anger with their purse string.

“Just withdrew my balance from #paddypower.  Am sorry but a young lady being killed is not something to bet on,” one woman tweeted.

A blog on the company’s website read: “Global media attention, bar-stool conversation and pillow talk will shift from the Oscars on Sunday night to Oscar on Monday when the Blade Runner straps on his prosthetic limbs for the long walk to the high court... Paddy Power is joining the debate by offering customers an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is — on the outcome of the murder trial.”

For many years, bookmakers across the globe have shied away from taking bets on murder trials despite the sometimes high profile nature of such cases.  Over the past year, none of the US-facing bookmakers offered odds on either the Jodi Arias or George Zimmerman murder trials, both of which received around-the-clock news coverage. 

“They could easily have made a fortune doing so,” noted Senior Editor Payton O’Brien.

Paddy Power has come under fire in recent months for sponsoring former NBA player Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea.

The reality of what transpired that fateful night Pistorius shot Steenkamp to death became all the more clear Monday at Day One of the trial as a neighbor took to the witness stand and described hearing “bloodcurdling screams”.

"Just after 3, I woke up from a woman's terrible screams," the woman testified. "Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times he yelled for help."

The trial resumes on Tuesday, as does the betting.

- Jagajeet Chiba,

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