Obama victory a sure thing? A top Irish bookmaker thinks so.
Irish betting firm Paddy Power is so confident in an Obama win that they're paying out early to those that bet on the president's reelection. So far they've paid $650,000 to winners.
The controversial (more on that later) half-page ad in The Irish Times newspaper read: "Sorry Romney, you're not black or cool. We're paying out early on an Obama victory."
So, while Americans head to the polls to choose their next president, many people in Britain and Ireland can head to the cashier's window and pick up their winnings for choosing Obama for a second term. They won't be collecting much though, because with odds of 1/5 the firm only pays out 20 cents for every euro bet (plus gives gamblers their original stake back).
The total payout has been over $650,000, according to the betting outfit.
Anyone who fancies their chances in taking on the house and winning by betting on a Romney victory will win €3.50 (about $4.50) for every euro staked. Despite the early payout on Obama, a Romney win would mean a second payout — and big losses for the bookie.
The low odds on Obama winning coupled with high ones on a Romney victory indicate Paddy Power is confident of a Obama victory as it is unlikely the firm would stake millions on a one-off publicity stunt.
The bookmaker is no stranger to controversial ads designed to get the attention of the press and, perhaps intentionally, rile industry regulators. In fact, Paddy Power's marketing department appears to have something of a fixation with the 44th President of the United States.
When Obama visited Ireland in May 2011 Paddy Power re-branded thirteen of its shops as "Obama Power" and took bets on which pub the president would drink a pint of Guinness in, a traditional photo-op for visiting US presidents.
More darkly, in 2008 the firm was accused of taking bets that implied Obama would be assassinated, when it offered odds that the president would not complete his term in office.
The most recent ad has attracted the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland, standing accused of racism.
ASAI chief executive Frank Goodman said a single complaint about the ad had been lodged with the advertising industry's self-regulating body he heads.
"It's not causing widespread offense, but we're looking at it under [the rubric of] social responsibility," he said.
No one from Paddy Power was available for comment when The Christian Science Monitor called.