Obama Assassination Bet In Bad Taste: Odds Still Offered

Written by:
C Costigan
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Ireland's biggest online bookmaker, Paddy Power, has been raked through the coals for offering a bet on which it will pay out should president-elect Barack Obama be assassinated during his first term in office, write Patrick Griffin and Allison Bray of the Independent. 

And people are betting it.  Odds have been slashed from 16-1 yesterday to 12-1 Friday morning.

But Paddy Power  now finds itself in the line of fire with a  spokesman for the American Embassy describing the bet as very offensive and in extremely bad taste.

Originally the bet was published only in suggestive form a la "President Obama would not finish his term in office".  Another bet option was made available for "impeachment" and "resignation", hence implying the other wager related to an assassination.  That bet was later altered to pay out if Obama ended up killed by a sniper's bullet.

The bookmaker rejected calls to withdraw the controversial offer, claiming it was a nonsense to suggest that their stance could actually encourage anyone to go out and try to kill Mr Obama.

In Dublin, Shelia Paskman, a spokesman for the American Embassy in Ireland, said last night : "This is completely inappropriate."

But the bookmaker was unrepentant last night, claiming that a number of customers from Ireland and the UK had specifically requested odds on Mr Obama being assassination. 

Paddy Power does not accept customers from the United States.  They are a sponsor of the Gambling911.com website and widely considered one of the most brilliant marketing firms in online gambling. 

"It's understandable that folks might be offended by this especially when one reflects upon US history and some of the tragedies involving popular public figures including John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Martin Luther King, Jr.," Gambling911.com Senior Editor Payton O'Brien said in a statement issued Friday morning.  "This is not something that we would ever promote."

Paddy Power is featuring a variety of Obama bets including who he will select for cabinet positions and what the Obamas will name the first dog.  

It is not the first time that online gambling websites have come under fire for offering what many deem to be controversial bets.

Following the tragic 2005 hurricane season, Bookmaker.com began offering odds on how many Category 3 or greater hurricanes would hit the United States. 

That company was fast to point out that they were not offering odds on fatalities and damage.  They stopped offering hurricane bets the following year due to public outcry.


Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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