Bookmaker Bet365 has created a storm over its latest TV commercial, shown during coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial for pre-meditated murder. In the 30 second advertisement, actor Ray Winstone growls that, according to one expert, no live screaming is possible on account of the victim having a bullet in her head. A photograph of Reeva Steenkamp is then shown on the screen along with the odds on one of the possible trial outcomes, with Winstone encouraging anyone armed and called Oscar to ‘have a bang on that.’
The outrage follows widespread condemnation of another bookmaker, Paddy Power, for running an advert linking Oscar’s trial to the Academy Awards and offering ‘Money Back If He Walks’. However, it is reported that other betting firms are also keen on gaining publicity by plumbing the depths of taste and acceptability. BetFair is set to launch a campaign based on the fateful decision by Mr Pistorius on whether to shoot or not. It apparently has the catchline, ‘Do you? Don’t you? Do you? Don’t you? With BetFair, you decide’. Meanwhile, Ladbrokes described the tastelessness rivalry between firms as ‘Game On’. Ladbrokes themselves are said to be making a controversial advert in which Kris Kamara somehow doesn’t act like a complete prat.
When asked if gambling on the outcome of a murder trial was in itself rather tasteless and immoral, a spokesman for the betting industry agreed. ‘But the most important thing about all this betting on news stories is that we are all independent of the news broadcasters,’ he said. ‘There can therefore be no possibility of odds-fixing by manipulating the way in which the news is reported,’ declared Mr Philip Tracey of SkyBet.