One might think that betting on the outcome of a murder trial may, perhaps, be illegal, but you would be wrong. The Oscar Pistorius retrial in South Africa has an Irish corporate bookmaker Paddy Power taking bets on the outcome. It seems that many of these corporate bookmakers are beyond the reach of the law, as they operate in international waters, so to speak. There have been calls from women’s groups to have the ads promoting this bet banned, but at this stage nothing has happened.
Betting On Legal Outcomes: On A Mobile Near You
Murder trials, in particular, have always captured the public’s taste for revenge and spite. I imagine that communities have been betting on legal outcome for literally thousands of years. The Greeks and Romans would have, for sure, in ancient times bet on the results of trials happening within their cities. Bookmakers will take bets on just about anything. The law is only really concerned with there being any undue influence being brought to bear on a legal outcome. So, get ready to see more markets being framed on juicy murder trials and the like.
The only thing holding certain corporate bookmakers back from more activities like this in the legal sphere is the bad publicity from interest groups connected to things like crimes against women, as in the Pistorius murder trial. Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend dead and claimed that he thought that she was an intruder. Negative campaigns against high profile corporate bookmakers could damage their public profiles, which could then lead them to losing marketshare and/or their licenses, based on bringing the industry into disrepute. Also, angering the legal profession and judicial industry may not prove to be a sound long-term strategy for any corporation.
The Paddy Power promotion offering odds on the outcome of the Pistorius retrial may be the forerunner of more of this kind of thing or it may be a one off. It can be viewed as a normalisation of a callous and disrespectful stance towards the legal system in the West. It sends the message that the legal system is no longer sacrosanct, but, rather, is open game for recreational gambling. It belittles both victim and perpetrator in something as serious as murder or manslaughter. As Paddy Power operate in the United Kingdom, turning over revenue in excess of eight hundred million Euros annually, they may feel that South Africa is a long way away and their actions are cavalier because they predict no backlash in their own backyard.