Posted March 8, 2014 by John Baintree in News

Taking bets on Oscar Pistorius’ trial is sick

Taking bets on Oscar Pistorius’ trial is sick
Taking bets on Oscar Pistorius’ trial is sick

At the risk of sounding like my father, I do wonder what the world is coming to. The world seems to be gripped by the courtroom drama in South Africa. Almost complete media coverage, only the faces of witnesses during testimony are stopped from being broadcast, seems to ensure that the interest in the trial moves way beyond in seeing justice being done into the realms of gratuity.

The darling of South Africa’s sporting world, up to and including the 2012 Paralympics, is now fighting for his reputation and for his freedom. How come then, against such a background of seriousness can bookmaker Paddy Power take bets on the outcome of the trial?

Paddy Power has recently stunned the betting and non-betting world across the UK with its recent advertising campaign encouraging punters to bet on the outcome of Oscar Pistorius’ trial in Johannesburg. Using an advert of a mock Hollywood Oscar statuette, superimposed with Pistorius’ face, the chain encourages bets with the slogan “OSCAR TIME MONEY BACK IF HE WALKS”

Predictably there has been a degree of criticism at the advert but unpredictably the amount of criticism has been almost unprecedented. A reported 90,000 people have called on Paddy Power to drop the advert. Finally the Advertising Standards Authority have stepped into gear and forced the removal of the advert with immediate effect.

People have complained about the Advert on a number of grounds. For many, the trivialisation of the Steenkamp family’s grief is totally unacceptable. True it must be intolerable for them to be dealing with the facts about the alleged murder of Reeva in the full glaze of the world’s media but I wonder, do you think they have actually seen a copy of the advert?  Do you think they would be THAT interested? Perhaps carrying slightly more weight is the view that trivialising violence against women should be discouraged at all costs.

So what exactly persuaded Paddy Power to place an advert that was to cause such offence? Look a little more closely at Paddy Power and you may begin to understand, if not agree with, their position. Paddy Power is an Irish bookies that has a track record (see what I did there) for offering odds on a baffling array of events, many of which reflect the irreverent Irish nature of the organisation. If you fancy a flutter on Eurovision, then Paddy Power’s the place for you, you can probably find odds on who will win the next US Presidency, whether the next Royal baby will be a girl or a boy, the fact is that Paddy Power are always looking to publicise their brand and it seems that they certainly managed to achieve that with this little stunt.