Oscar Pistorius Has Been Paroled: Made Headlines on Gambling911 for All the Wrong Reasons

Written by:
Nagesh Rath
Published on:
Nov/24/2023

Regular readers know the name even if they were unfamiliar with his prior performance in the Olympics.

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Representing South Africa, Oscar Pistorius is a former professional sprinter who ran with ran in both nondisabled sprint events and in sprint events for below-knee amputees.  Both of his feet were amputated when he was 11 months old as a result of a congenital defect.

It's a feel good story we can all get behind.

Then he became a convicted murderer.

Pistorius was granted parole Friday, 10 years after shooting his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, through a toilet door at his home in South Africa in a killing that jolted the world.

Department of Corrections spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Pistorius would be released from prison on Jan. 5. His parole will come with conditions, including that he not leave the area of Pretoria where he is set to live without permission from authorities.

"Parole does not mean the end of the sentence. It is still part of the sentence. It only means the inmate will complete the sentence outside a correctional facility," Nxumalo said.

Pistorius made news on the Gambling911.com website for his role in a Paddy Power marketing campaign that went completely off the rails back at the time he was about to serve trial.

Someone in their marketing department - perhaps they ended up with PointsBet's brilliant marketing team - devised a plan to mock Pistorius' disability.

To be clear, we always loved Paddy Power creative and controversial marketing concepts overall.  This one went a little bit overboard, however, and gave new meaning to the word "bad taste".

The "Will He Walk" campaign - referring to his trial, but you get where this is going - resulted in some 5000 complaints lodged against it.

The UK Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) went ballistic at the time, for obvious reasons, and warned that the ad was never to appear again.

"We told Paddy Power to ensure their future ads did not cause serious or widespread offence and did not bring advertising into disrepute."

Paddy Power said it "strongly believed" that offering a market on a leading news story did not trivialise the issues surrounding the murder trial, death or disability.

The ad campaign was in conjunction with its Academy Awards bet offerings.  The awards presentation is also known as "The Oscars".  The whole thing works if it weren't so damn offensive.

Paddy Power is now owned by the same company as FanDuel, Flutter.  FanDuel, at times, seems to have taken a page from Paddy Power's playbook but with a far more juvenile approach.

- Nagesh Rath, Gambling911.com

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