Nov 10 2008
True to form, rather than simply moaning about it, a friend of mine, G, contacted PaddyPower.com to make his feelings known on their exploitation of the possible assassination of Barack Obama, and to seek an explanation as to how they could offer such bets.
Here is G’s email:
From: G** [mailto:**@hotmail.com]
Sent: 08 November 2008 02:19
To: Support; Whelan, Susan; Robertson, Ken; Power, Paddy
Subject: For the attention of Patrick Kennedy Re: Obama Bet
I would like to bring to your attention, and express my utter disdain and disgust over your advertised bet Will Barack Obama survive his first term as president? To take bets on whether a man will live for the next 4 years is truly deplorable and is reminiscent of Roman gladiatorial times. Would you like Barack Obama to make sport out of it for you? Maybe something like The Running Man would be in order?
I understand that you have taken the bet off your website, but it is still available at one of your many betting shops, and I believe the current odds are 12-1 A good show of support for the leader of the biggest economic power in the world.
For Paddy Power to be taking bets over whether or not a man will be assassinated shows a complete lack of ethics, decency and common sense. I can assure you that I will be cancelling my account and will not be using Paddy Power again. I would also suggest you instruct your shops to remove this bet, refund any current wagers and make an apology on your website.
I look forward to receiving your thoughts on this matter.
Paddy Power replied with a very well considered and, in my view, acceptable explanation of their stance:
Subject: RE: For the attention of Patrick Kennedy Re: Obama Bet
Date: Sat, 8 Nov 2008 14:50:29 +0000
Thank you very much for your email, I appreciate the opportunity to clear this matter up.
Contrary to recent reports Paddy Power never have and never will offer odds on Barack Obama to be assassinated. The market which has been misinterpreted was on Obama not to finish his term which covers political reasons for cutting the term short such as impeachment and resignation – Richard Nixon resigned and Bill Clinton came close.
Because of this misinterpretation we have now clarified our betting and simply offer individual odds of 28/1 on Obama to resign and 33/1 on him to be impeached among the scores of other Obama special bets which have been requested by our customers.
I hope this has helped clarify the matter.
They are an intelligent bunch in PaddyPower.com and I have no doubt that they were using the ambiguity of the bet to incorporate assassination as one of the possible ways he could fail to serve a full term. That said, they were not explicitly accepting bets on his murder and they did make efforts to rectify their mistake, if you view it as a mistake.
I think they acted reasonably on this. Anyone else? Did Paddy Power act irresponsibly or is this just another case of the media creating a story where there is none?