DUBLIN, Ireland – Ireland's top bookmaker, Paddy Power PLC, paid out more than $13,500 on Friday to people who bet that Al Gore would be arrested. Trouble was, the company neglected to specify which one.
The former U.S. vice president and global-warming activist was rated as a 14-to-1 outsider in a list of American celebrities likely to be arrested next. On Wednesday — the day after the betting went live on Paddy Power's Web site — Gore's 24-year-old son, Al Gore III, was arrested and charged with illegally possessing marijuana and prescription drugs.
Paddy Power said it was paying out winnings to about 50 people, because it had failed to identify which Gore it meant. "We got a good stoning," the Dublin-based company said in a statement.
The bet in question listed publicity hound Paris Hilton as the favorite on 2-to-1 odds, based on her recent spell in a Los Angeles jail. Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates came a distant 50 to 1.
On Friday, Paddy Power had switched its celebrity betting back solely onto Hilton's likely 2007 fortunes. She merited a 5-to-4 chance of ending up in a rehabilitation clinic by the end of the year, while a return to jail was rated at 10 to 1. Appearing in an episode of "Prison Break" was 25 to 1, becoming Calvin Klein's new face for the perfume "Escape" 40 to 1, and releasing a cover of Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" 66 to 1.