Early Payout on Obama Costs Paddy Power €1,000,000+ in 2008

Paddy Power Obama Early Payout

On October the 15th 2008, Barack Obama and John McCain faced off in the final Presidential debate.

This was a whole 3 weeks before Americans would head out to the ballot boxes the cast their votes, but Paddy Power decided that the race was over and the battle was won.

The day after the debate, they announced that they would be paying out early on all bets on Obama, at a cost of more than €1,000,000.

A spokesperson said:

“We declare this race well and truly over and congratulate all those who backed Obama, your winnings await you. Although the Senator seemed a little off sorts in last night’s final debate we believe he has done more than enough to get him across the line on November 4th. The overall betting trend has shown one way traffic for Obama since the start of the summer and punters seemed to have called it 100 per cent correct,”

This may seem like a risky move, but the majority of the 10,000 bets they had taken on the election were in favour of Mr. Obama, and he was forecast to win, so the bookie were certain they would need to pay out anyway, and probably just wanted to close the market before it cost them more.

Regardless, a lot of people got their money early, including one genius who stuck €50 on Obama back in 2005, before he was even nominated as the Democrat candidate, at huge odds of 50/1. That bettor would have walked away €2,500 better off.

The biggest bet they took on the market came much later, so the odds were far shorter at 1/2, but since the stake was €100,000, the total payout for that punter would have been €150,000.

As it turned out, they made the right call, with Obama achieving a comfortable victory, winning both the Presidency and the popular vote and going on to serve a second term into the bargain.