Today's award goes to Paddy Power, an Irish betting firm.
Last week the firm paid out (in advance) bets on a 'Yes' vote in Sunday's Greek referendum. Bloomberg reported at the time:
Paddy Power Plc “paid out five figures” in winnings to gamblers who bet that Greece will back a July 5 austerity referendum that may preserve the nation’s future as part of the euro region.
“Despite some polls suggesting it’s neck and neck, over the last few days we’ve seen enough to be convinced,” Paddy Power, Ireland’s largest bookmaker, said in an e-mail in Dublin on Wednesday. “In a race with two potential outcomes, we’ve seen over 85 percent of money go one way and that’s massive.”
Gambling companies routinely pay out early on sporting events when they regard the result as a foregone conclusion, in part because it draws publicity and in part because gamblers often recycle winnings into other wagers.
There's more at the link.
Unfortunately, the Greek electorate returned a resounding 'No' vote in the referendum, leading to red faces and big losses at Paddy Power. Betting Pro reports:
Paddy Power is feeling a little red faced this morning after calling the Greek referendum wildly wrong ... not only did Paddy make the erroneous six figure payout but they also had to pay everyone who backed the 'no' vote as winners, making it an expensive election for the Irish firm.
. . .
... a spokesperson for Paddy Power told Bettingpro:
“With the benefit of hindsight, it’s safe to say that our early pay out was as ill-advised as some of Greece’s economic policies.”
Again, more at the link.
The firm can't get back the money it paid out in error, either. A payout in settlement of a bet is just that - it settles the bet. No comebacks (or paybacks).
I'd love to know how many of Paddy Power's competitors are chortling over a pint of Guinness in Ireland right now . . .