Betting firm offers 'cash back if he walks' in Pistorius trial

Mar 03, 2014, 12:45 IST | Agencies

A bookmaker in UK has been criticised for offering customers a refund if the paralympian is found not guilty of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

London: A bookmaker has opened themselves up for criticism after controversially offering odds on Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial.

‘Trial of the century’: Many experts are calling this the trial of the century, as it begins today. Oscar Pistorius admits he shot his girlfriend Reeva, but says it was an accident. File Pic

Somewhat tastelessly placed in the ‘Novelty Bets’ section of the website, Paddy Power have come under fire on social media for their ‘gone too far’ offering.

Under the title ‘Premeditated murder charge verdict’, the bookmaker has offered odds on Guilty and Not guilty ahead of the start of the trial.

The Paddy Power website offered odds of 2-5 for a not guilty verdict, and 7-4 for a guilty verdict.

It read, “Bets void should charge be changed from premeditated murder before verdict. Bets void should mistrial be declared.”

However, this latest offering was severely criticised.

Giacomo Poochini was annoyed and tweeted: “Paddy Power hijacking a woman’s death to encourage people
to have a flutter on a gimmick market.”

Alana Farrell added: “Absolutely vile behaviour from @paddypower. Taking bets on a murder trial verdict is low.”

One Twitter user said: “Some of Paddy Power’s publicity stunts have been clever/amusing. Just think the Oscar Pistorius one is a step too far. Others will disagree.”

Pistorius has admitted shooting Steenkamp several times through the bathroom door, but claims he was acting in self-defence after becoming convinced that an intruder had broken in to the house.

Pistorius has admitted to firing four shots at Steenkamp, 29, hitting her in the head, arm and hip.

Pistorius’s trial on charges of the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp begins today and will be televised in South Africa.

>> Firm offers 7-4 odds on a guilty verdict
>> The offer has been severely criticised by public on social media
>> Historic trial will begin today and aired live on TV

Other bets that are on offer

Other markets offered by Paddy Power in the same category include:
>>  Next Pope after Francis I
>>  When will there be a referendum to widen grounds for abortion
>> Where is Yanukovych
>> How will Julian Assange leave the Ecuadorean Embassy
>> Who the next Facebook CEO will be

Company reacts
“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. We recognise that there has been some reaction to this market, but we’re also listening to the many customers looking to bet on the outcome of the trial,” said a spokesperson for the company.

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