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Paddy Power oil spill extinction odds draw criticism

Jun 01, 2010 - by admin
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As the BP oil disaster unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico, Irish internet sportsbook Paddy Power is offering odds on which species the oil will drive to extinction first. Some have called the offerings irresponsible, saying that the attempt to profit from the disaster is in bad taste. Paddy Power responded by saying that they offer the odds in hopes of bringing attention to the issue.

The Wall Street Journal: Paddy Power Seeks To Cash In On Marine Life Extinction

Paddy Power may have crossed the line. In a recent press release entitled “Ridley Turtle Tipped For Oily Exit” Ireland’s biggest online sportsbook announced odds on which marine species will be the first to become extinct due to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Paddy Power insists that they are only trying to bring attention to the responsibilities of oil companies.

“The oil spill seems to be going from bad to worse with no end in sight,” says a spokesman for Paddy Power said, who denied that the extinction odds were in bad taste. “Hopefully our odds will bring home the imminent danger to such a varied mix of species dependent on the ocean.”

Unfortunately these words clash with the the tone of Paddy Power’s press release, which inserts humor in all the wrong places. For example, the statement quips about the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle, saying the fact that the species migrates through the Gulf of Mexico this time of year is “spectacularly bad luck”.

This is obviously a publicity stunt, and Paddy Power’s bottom line is to make money. Unfortunately, the fact remains that BP’s pipeline has yet to be fixed, and everyone involved is side-stepping the issue, refusing to accept responsibility.

New York Times: Website Offers Betting on Spill-Related Extinctions of Gulf Species

The online sports betting site Paddy Power is offering odds today on which marine species would be first to go extinct due to BP’s ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Kemp’s ridley turtle, already an endangered species, is favored to go first. A $5 bet on the turtle would win $9 if it becomes extinct because of the spill. Other species like the gulf sturgeon, smalltooth sawfish and elkhorn coral have less probable odds, paying out at rates of 20-to-1.

Paddy Power hopes the offer will bring attention to the fact that the spill is an environmental catastrophe that will likely lead to the extinction of one or more species in the Gulf.

“We kind of have a very simple philosophy at Paddy Power — within reason if there is a very newsworthy event that are people are talking about, people should be allowed to back up their opinion with some cash,” said spokesman Ken Robertson.

The Chronicle Herald: Ruptured oil well threatens bluefin tuna

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening the Atlantic bluefin tuna, raising concerns about the future of the species in Atlantic Canada. The fish breed in the Gulf, but then follow the Gulf Stream north, along the Nova Scotia coast.

“There is an important rod-and-reel fishery and a significant tourism industry associated with the great fish during the fall season in the Maritimes,” said Reg Hartlen at H&H Fisheries in Eastern Passage.

Many people associated with Canada’s fishing industry first heard about the threat to the bluefin when Paddy Power online sportsbook gave odds on which species would become extinct first because of the disaster. The bluefin is listed as second most likely to face extinction, right after the Kemp’s ridley turtle.

“Anybody who knows anything at all about the importance of the gulf region to our fishery is watching this situation very closely,” said Stephen Kiley, a former Shad Bay charter boat captain.

“One of the worst environmental night­mares of our time is unfolding right now in the gulf. We’ll be living with it for years.”

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