Nov 10 2008

Dead Reckoning – The Reply

Published by at 10:41 am under Blog,Politics

Following on from my previous post:


True to form, rather than simply moaning about it, a friend of mine, G, contacted 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:**]
Sent: 08 November 2008 02:19
To: Support; Whelan, Susan; Robertson, Ken; Power, Paddy
Subject: For the attention of Patrick Kennedy Re: Obama Bet


Mr Kennedy,

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
To: **


Hi G**,

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.

Kind regards,

Paddy Power


They are an intelligent bunch in 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?

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Dead Reckoning – The Reply”

  1. Lottieon 10 Nov 2008 at 11:15 am

    I think the “survive” first term related directly to Obama being assassinated but they did a good job of cleaning up their mess. I don’t believe it ws blown out of proprtion – there has to be a line and when an agency starts placing bets on a crime it’s a slippery slope from there.

    Consider if someone shoved a few million on it and then made arrangements for the assassination. All you need is some sicko with a warped sense of fun and a large bank balance.

    They could be considered co-conspirators! And isn’t Paddy Power already in trouble in the US?

  2. Xbox4NappyRashon 10 Nov 2008 at 1:25 pm

    I did have some doubts as to whether PP would word it exactly like that.
    They are no fools, and are aware of the minefield they would be stepping into.

    Maybe their wording was ambiguous to begin with in order to stir the interest, which rightly or wrongly it did.

    The indo story however was misleading, the wording, while technically accurate, implied that PP had offered odds explicitly on the assination, which it seems, it had not.

    Neither of the two groups come off well out of this. Sloppy from both.

  3. sheepworrieron 10 Nov 2008 at 3:15 pm

    I think it’s just a very clever campaign by PP to create a meedja storm in a tea cup.
    I don’t understand why people are getting so bent out’ve shape about this with all the other shite that is going on in the world.

  4. Xbox4NappyRashon 10 Nov 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Well there’s always something worse going on in the world, so why should anyone get bent out of shape about anything?

    The idea that a company could have been offering unlimited financial incentive for the murder of a man who already has a number of identified potential assasins was worth getting a little bent out of shape for, I think.

  5. sheepworrieron 10 Nov 2008 at 4:08 pm

    “Well there’s always something worse going on in the world”

    Exactly! So why does this warrant the airtime? Do you think anyone will give a fiddler’s f**k about this in 2 weeks?
    I just don’t see it as a priority story.

  6. Maxi Caneon 10 Nov 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I had €100 on that!

  7. Xbox4NappyRashon 10 Nov 2008 at 7:24 pm

    My point being that if we always took that view, NOTHING would be worth the airtime, ‘one murder? – bah, there’ll be two murders somewhere else, so why bother?’

  8. sheepworrieron 11 Nov 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Not only is it not worth the airtime, its not even worth me finishing this sentan

  9. PaddyInEnglandon 17 Nov 2008 at 12:17 pm

    i got him at 50/1 before he was elected.

  10. Darrenon 17 Nov 2008 at 1:20 pm

    @Lottie Yep. And the furore over this will just give them more free advertising. It’s marketing at its best/worst.

    @Xbox Indeed, sloppy from both, but the Indo should know better – they are supposed to be a professional news medium.

    @Sheepie I only wrote about it becasue I was interested in it, not to bring the news to the masses. The Indo are to blame for making a ‘story’ out of it.

    @Maxi Pretty sure they have to honour your bet. 😉

    @Paddy Nice! How much did you lay down?

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