THE PADDY POWER CONTROVERSY

Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Paddy Power prompts outrage by offering ‘money back if he walks’ betsQuestion: What’s all the fuss about? Paddy Power, the bookie, is offering odds on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorious trial. So what?  Gamblers bet on all sorts of events nowadays, don’t they? Answer: Yes, they do, but Paddy Power is taking bets on a premeditated murder trial, remember: 7/4 for a guilty verdict and 2/5 for not guilty. People are calling what is, after all, a marketing gimmick ‘vile’ and ‘disgusting.” Question: They have a point, don’t they? Answer: Well, I suppose Paddy Power would say the background to the case is not relevant; only the verdict. The trial is being televised ‘live’ and is bound to attract more international interest than any case since the O.J.Simpson trial in 1994. So the bookie would say he is just responding to the enormous interest by offering odds on the outcome. Question: Is he right? Answer: I think many people will regard this is crass and tasteless. But those are not the people who are likely to place a bet. The gamblers who are tempted by this will take a more neutral position and presumably conclude this is a big event worthy of a wager. Question:  Labour MP Tom Watson (see below), has campaigned for Paddy Power to pull the ad and donate to charities fighting domestic violence. The campaign already has around 110,000 signatories. Will he succeed?

PaddyPowertomWatson-Campaign-2013 Answer: No. Tom Watson is sanctimonious — he tends to make a show of being morally superior and, on this occasion, he risks coming across as holier-than-thou. If people find the bet offensive, they will just not place a bet. If a great many people are seriously offended, distressed, hurt or just disgusted by the bet, they will switch their bookies. This will damage the Paddy Power brand. But the bookie’s pre-tax profits rose to a record 141m euros (£116m) last year. So PP seems to have a reasonable marketing policy. Presumably, he feels confident that he’s assessed the mood accurately on this occasion. Either way, I think the punters should and will decide. MPs are not our moral guardians. @elliscashmore