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mccain betting odds
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п»їJohn McCain more likely to drop Sarah Palin, bookmakers say.
The smart money thinks there's a better chance Tuesday than Monday that John McCain will dump Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Before the Republican senator's presidential campaign disclosed the pregnancy of Palin's 17-year-old daughter, bookmakers in Britain and Ireland were offering 20-1 odds or higher on a bet that she would be forced off the ticket, meaning a 1 pound ($1.78) bet would pay 20 pounds. Now that same bet will pay no more than 8 pounds.
"While it is rare that a VP candidate gets dropped, it's not completely impossible," said Ken Robertson, political betting analyst at Paddy Power Plc, a Dublin-based gambling company. "Lots of our punters are betting 'Shocking' Sarah's days are numbered," he added, using a nickname he came up with for the first-term Alaska governor.
The odds, based on wagers made online with Paddy Power and William Hill Plc and in their betting shops, also suggest that McCain is less likely to win the White House because of his vice-presidential running-mate choice, announced Aug. 29.
Both gambling houses, along with rival Ladbrokes Plc, place Democrat Barack Obama, 47, as the favorite to triumph in the contest.
"Ever since he appointed her, people have stopped betting on McCain," said David Williams of Ladbrokes in London. "He went down like a sack of potatoes as far as the punters are concerned."
Today, William Hill cut the odds that Palin, 44, would be sacked to 8-1 from 20-1. Paddy Power now puts the odds of Palin leaving the ticket at 14-1, compared to 28-1 before yesterday's disclosure about Bristol Palin, the daughter. The Paddy Power betting house is also offering 33-1 odds that she will go by the end of this week. Ladbrokes is offering 10-1 odds that Palin will quit the race.
Intrade, a Dublin-based peer-to-peer betting Web site, opened a contract on Palin to be withdrawn as the Republican vice presidential nominee. The latest price was 12 cents, up 9 cents today. Each contract at that price will pay 88 cents per contract if Palin leaves the ticket.
Political betting on financial markets outperforms polling as an elections predictor, according to a University of North Carolina study and figures from the Iowa Electronic Markets. Only twice in the century through 2004 — the 1916 election and the 2000 contest between Bush and Democrat Al Gore — did the betting markets get it wrong on the popular vote.
The last time a vice presidential candidate was dropped from the ticket was in 1972, when George McGovern's pick for the job, Tom Eagleton, left the Democratic campaign after disclosures he had undergone treatment for depression. McGovern went on to lose the election to Republican Richard Nixon.
"It would be disastrous for his campaign were McCain to sack Palin, but it is not impossible that she could stand down should party chiefs feel that she is too controversial a choice who might end up costing McCain votes," said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.

McCain seeks ban on college sports bets / Senator relishes fight with powerful lobby.
2002-03-30 04:00:00 PDT Washington -- As millions of fans across the country prepare for today's NCAA men's basketball Final Four to see how they fared in office pools, legislators and lobbyists are weighing the odds of banning gambling on college sports.
The issue pits the powerful Nevada casino lobby against the NCAA and its congressional allies such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who say the legal betting on amateur sports at hundreds of Nevada casinos feeds illegal betting on campuses and on the Internet, leads to corruption of college athletes and sets students on the path to becoming problem gamblers.
So far, the gambling industry, which gave congressional and presidential candidates $11 million in campaign contributions in 2000, has prevented McCain's bill to ban gambling on collegiate sports from getting beyond the committee stage.
But McCain, whose seven years of perseverance finally paid off recently with the enactment of sweeping campaign-finance law changes, relishes a fight against a powerful lobby.
McCain's anti-gambling effort is in its third year, and the senator might push for a full Senate vote now that his epic campaign-finance battle is over.
"He'll continue to look at good opportunities," McCain aide Nancy Ives said.
She said McCain could attach his bill as an amendment to other legislation, a tactic designed to blunt the power of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority whip who could more easily block a vote if McCain tried to move his bill as separate legislation.
A major opponent of the McCain bill, Reno's Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., conceded that if McCain can get his legislation to the floor, it could sail through. "It's very difficult for many members who get called by prestigious university presidents or coaches in their states to say no. If it gets out, it will have lots of momentum," Gibbons said.
But Gibbons and other opponents scoff at the notion that McCain's proposal would curb illegal sports gambling around the nation. The Reno congressman has introduced a competing bill that would set up a national commission to study the problem and direct the NCAA and local authorities to crack down on illegal sports gambling on campuses.
Sports betting on professional and amateur events is legal only in Nevada. The industry says you would never know it, given the lack of enforcement of anti-gambling laws across the country. Office pools are everywhere, and point spreads and odds on games are published in newspapers, including The Chronicle,
and aired on TV and radio stations.
What's more, the industry adds, the $3 billion bet legally on all sports annually at Nevada books is a tiny fraction of the amount bet illegally each year on sports.
The industry also claims that Nevada casinos have tipped off the FBI to a few college basketball point-shaving scandals over the past several years by looking for unusual betting patterns on games.
In the NCAA tournament, which wraps up with Monday's championship game, the numbers are huge for Nevada, second only to the amount bet on the Super Bowl. Nationally, authorities estimate about $5.2 billion is bet on the three-week March tournament, with about $100 million put down in Nevada casinos.
The NCAA basketball tournament has become one of the biggest periods for Las Vegas, where most of the 125,000 hotel rooms are jammed with basketball fans during the three weekends of games. In addition to their bets, visitors are expected to spend about $70 million on hotel rooms, meals, drinks and shopping.
"At our property, it's just as big as the Super Bowl," said Joe Lupo, manager of the race and sports book at the Stardust hotel, one of the best- known Nevada books. "The town overall is busier at March Madness from a hard- core betting point of view than at the Super Bowl."
Lupo, who sets the point spread and odds at the Stardust, said banning legal gambling in Nevada will boomerang by driving sports betting completely underground and removing the Nevada Gaming Control Board from its regulatory role over the betting.
"Banning it in Nevada won't affect the real problem at all," he added.
But to a key advocate of McCain's bill, former California Lt. Gov. Leo T. McCarthy, the very idea of allowing legal gambling on college sports is abhorrent and counterproductive for society.

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