Paddy Power gives odds on Obama's first cliché

The irreverent Irish bookie Paddy Power is offering odds on which cliché Barack Obama will use first when he makes his Democratic nomination speech in Denver tonight.

"Time for a change" and "God bless America" are among the favourites, priced at 10/1 and 12/1, but odds of 20/1 now look very short on the presidential hopeful uttering the phrase "a decent shot at life", coming days after four people were arrested in connection with an assassination plot against him.

Paddy Power likes to keep its punters amused, coming up with cheeky bets on events and issues normally given a wide berth by other bookies (for instance, is it likely Ladbrokes would give you 50/1 on Obama arriving on stage with his zipper undone?)

While Obama's speech provides a novelty one-off betting opportunity, Paddy Power's bread and butter comes from sporting events such as horse racing and football. The company was yesterday forced to issue a profit warning after admitting that results had not always gone its way during the first half. "That is the ebb and flow of bookmaking," said sheepish chief executive Patrick Kennedy.

The company was hit by a number of heavily backed winners by Irish horse trainer Aidan O'Brien, while customers also placed winning bets on popular Irish golfer Padraig Harrington, who scooped the British Open and the US PGA championship.

Paying out these punters wiped out some freak successes earlier, such as 14 names in the frame as the next Republic of Ireland football manager.

The company, which is also starting to feel the impact of the credit crunch as punters spend less on their wagers, now expects to make profits of €75m for the year (£62.5m) compared with its previous forecast of €82m (£68m). At the halfway stage, profits were 10 per cent higher, at €47m.

Broker Investec still thinks the shares, down by 5.3 per cent at €15.2 yesterday, are worth a punt.

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