Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BOSTON | On Monday, an Irish bookie paid off bettors who had wagered that state Sen. Scott Brown, a conservative Republican, would win the special election for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat held for nearly 50 years by liberal Democratic icon Edward M. Kennedy.

“Enough is enough. It seems that Senator Brown just has to get out of bed tomorrow to win convincingly. As far as we’re concerned, this race is well and truly over,” said Paddy Power, Ireland’s largest bookmaker, 24 hours before the actual election.

Before shutting down the betting, Mr. Brown had gone from 5-4 odds to 1-5 (meaning if a bettor put down $5, they only stood to make $1 if Mr. Brown wins). The odds against his opponent — Democrat Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general — soared, from 4-7 to win to 3-1 to lose.

Coakley struggles against enthusiasm for Brown
Mass. voters flock to polls

“Paddy Power has also cut the odds on the Republicans winning the 2012 presidential election from 11-10 to evens and have installed Senator Scott Brown at odds of 20-1 to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2012,” the bookmaker said.

Mr. Brown, Mrs. Coakley and Joseph Kennedy, a Libertarian who is running as an independent, entered the final day of campaigning before Tuesday’s special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat left empty by the death of Edward M. Kennedy.

The Irish bookie also paid off early on the 2008 presidential election. About a week before Election Day, Mr. Power paid out more than $1 million to all bettors who wagered on then-Sen. Barack Obama, saying Sen. John McCain was too far behind in the polls to win.

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