Paddy Power, the Irish bookmaker has sparked widespread criticism over an advert it placed on the weekend relating to bets on the Oscar Pistorius trial.
Pistorius, 27, is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his Pretoria home On Valentine’s Day last year. He faces charges of premeditated murder and contravening the Firearms Control Act.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In the advert (below), Paddy Power says it will refund all losing bets, if Pistorius is acquitted.
The advert is a play on the name given to The Academy Awards, commonly known as The Oscars, and the first name of the Paralympic gold medal winner.
“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,” it said.
The Irish firm said in a blog announcing the betting facility:
It’s Money Back If He Walks (and one of the more challenging jobs we’ve asked of our art department).
- If you bet on Pistorius being jailed (7/4) and he is sent down, you’ve seen justice done.
- Bet on him going down but he walks free, then you get your money back amidst what’s sure to be an international howl of news about ‘injustice’.
- The other option is, of course, to bet on him getting off in the first place at odds of 2/5.
The betting firm said that, before the start of the trial, more than 60% of money staked was placed on a ‘not guilty’ verdict.
The firm quote 1-4 for Pistorius to be found guilty of premeditated murder, and 5-2 for a not-guilty verdict.
An online petition requesting the removal of the “offensive betting on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial” was signed by 105,000 people
“They (Paddy Power) are running ads in the national press that read “‘t’s Oscar Time. Money Back If He Walks.’ The brutal death of a woman at the hands of her partner is not ‘sport’ or ‘entertainment’ and promoting the opportunity to make money from it is a vile and offensive act which anyone with a sense of human dignity and respect for human life must reject,” said the petition’s author, Jean Hatchet, who us based in the UK.
“138 women died in the UK alone as a result of male violence in 2013. This type of random carelessness for the lives of women by Paddy Power is an affront to those women and their families,” Hatchet said.
The Belfast Telegraph reported that Paddy Power has “no intention at the moment” of removing the advert.
“It is so high profile which means there is more talk about it and it is being talked about in every pub. People are talking about this . It is top of the agenda. It is in everyone’s face. Everyone is interested and intrigued.”
“What we are offering is a bet on a high profile court case.”
“It is like OJ Simpson on steroids. It is the highest profile one I can remember. People are are talking about it and that is why we are offering odds on it.”
Paddy Power told BusinessTech:
“Paddy Power has a long history of offering odds on global news events, and the Oscar Pistorius trial is no different. Given intense global media interest, including a dedicated 24-hour television channel promising ‘round-the-clock’ coverage, Paddy Power is giving punters the chance to put their money where their mouth is for what will undoubtedly be the most reported on, and talked about, news story of the year.”