Betting on Oscar Pistorius' Murder Trial: The Worst Things People Gamble On

A Dublin-based bookmaker is facing harsh criticism after advertising a special betting deal on the outcome of Oscar Pistorius' murder trial. Paddy Power, a betting firm, offered gamblers their money back if the South African Olympian is found not guilty of murdering his supermodel girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The advertisement, featured in local media, shows Pistorius mocked-up as an Academy Award statue with the tagline: "It's Oscar Time. Money Back If He Walks."

Many found the ad offensive, prompting the creation of petition with more than 100,000 supporters calling for its removal. One commenter wrote, "The death of a woman should not be used as a publicity stunt. A new disgusting low for the UK." Others claimed the company was using the case as a form of entertainment, and in turn, profiting from it.

Paddy Power, which is regulated in the United Kingdom, told CNN that the organization is not planning on removing its trial betting and the offer is "nothing new when it comes to high-profile court cases." The company offers bets on major global events with a "current affairs" section that allows participants to wage stakes on decisions ranging from the next pope, to Julian Assage's departure from the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Supporters of the advertisement's removal say it's "an affront to those women and their families" who have been the victims of domestic violence. The Pistorius trial isn't the first instance of an offensive betting deal. Check out more inappropriate bets from around the world.

Natural Disasters

There's forecast insurance, and then there's actual gambling on natural disasters. In 2010, Paddy Power took bets on which volcano around the world would erupt first, following the eruption of Mount Mayon in the Philippines. If you can make a couple of bucks, who cares if lives are lost in the debris, right?

Soon after, the company also opened up betting on which airports in the UK would close as a result of volcanic activity. There's even a specific site dedicated to the odds stating, "Take the risk out of volcanic ash spoiling your summer holiday."

Gambling on hurricanes has also gained popularity, though victims of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina say its insensitive and the money could be better used toward efforts like relief aid. You think?

Presidential Assassinations

Paddy Power offered a controversial deal that would pay winners in the event that then-President-elect Barack Obama was assassinated. Sure enough, the offer was taken down after critics complained.

The bookmaker offered 12-1 odds that Obama wouldn't complete his first term in office for whatever reason, even if it was by assassination. Instead, they replaced it with three Obama "First Term Specials," betting on his impeachment, likelihood of having another child, and resignation.

Animal Extinctions

Not to miss out on a cash opportunity, the UK betting firm leapt at the opportunity presented by the Gulf oil spill. Which endangered species will be the first to die out as a result of the BP accident? Place your bets!

Sea turtles were in the lead guess to become extinct, and other animals on the list included Louisiana's state bird, the brown pelican, and the bluefin tuna. As usual, Paddy Power had no shame in their game, saying it was bringing attention to the environmental catastrophe and responsibility of oil companies, since "It’s a sure bet we’ll lose some marine species, the only question is which ones."

The company also offered odds on the estimated polar bear population in 2011, as well as the number of critically endangered species to appear on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list.

Nuclear Weapon Launches

With the development of digital currency, of course you can now gamble with bitcoins. Bets of Bitcoin, a site where you can wager your money on real world events, offers a deal to bet on the next nuclear weapon launch. Because, fun times!

The statement proposes that "a nuclear weapon will be used other than in a test capacity or as a peaceful explosive device" by Aug. 1, 2016.

Rape Scandals

In 2006, members of the Duke lacrosse team were accused of raping a student at North Carolina Central University. A DNA test of the team's members failed to indicate any sexual contact with the alleged victim, but several players were arrested anyway. None were found guilty.

The case gained nationwide attention, bringing up issues of race and class. In light of the investigation, online betting service Wager Web posted a bet on how many DNA matches investigators would find with the lacrosse team. The company's CEO said he would think twice about offering the wager again, but still believed they didn't cross any lines.

Hospital Patient Deaths

Death is an inevitable occurrence, and some gamblers in Taiwan attempted to cash in on it. Participants placed bets on the life expectancy of sick patients, wagering when the terminally-ill would die.

It wasn't just people looking to make a quick buck — hospital staff, including some doctors and nurses, were in on the betting too. If the cancer patients died within a month, the bookies would win, but if they passed away between one and six months after bets were placed, gamblers were paid three times their wager.