Paddy Power Shamefully Promotes Sports Betting on Wimbledon

Betting on Wimbledon, the tournament king of kings in the tennis world, has been underway for the last week now. Racket-weilding athletic phenoms from all around the world gather within the confines of the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, as they have every year since 1877, to complete in “The Championship”.

Sports Betting on Wimbledon

Millions of viewers are tuning in to watch the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament. Many of them have a vested interest in the event, as sports betting on Wimbledon grows to new heights each year. Helping in the proliferation of tennis betting is the presence of online bookmakers, who make the process more convenient than ever before.

One such bookie, Paddy Power, is making headlines this week, and not necessarily in a good way. The operator is known worldwide as one of the largest betting sites, with the most controversial marketing tactics. Even in Canada, experienced sports bettors are familiar with the company, and its reputation for over the top publicity stunts.

Paddy Power’s propensity for controversial (and often political) satire has gotten them in hot water before, but this time, some say they’ve taken their promotion for betting on Wimbledon a bit too far by defacing a 55 metre (180 ft) cultural icon.

Centuries Old Giant of Cerne Abbas

Cerne Abbas GiantThe Cerne Abbas Giant is a massive, centuries old depiction of—well, no one is entirely sure what it was meant to be a depiction of, but at face value—a club-weilding man with an honourable erection.

The Cerne Giant is located upon a hill top just outside Cerne Abbas, a small village in Dorset, England. It’s been the subject of historical archaeological debate for centuries, believed by most to date back to the 17th century. Many believe it is a symbol of fertility, due to its phallic nature.

Paddy Power’s disregard for the significance of the antiquated carving, and the angry mob of locals they’ve infuriated with this latest stunt, is being heavily criticized by global media.

The original Cerne Giant is carved into the white chalk hillside, depicting a giant with a knobby club in his right hand. The left hand is held out to the side, doing nothing in particular. At least, not anymore. Archaeologists confirmed it once had a cloth-like shape draped over it, adding merit to the theory that it’s a representation of Hercules, holding the skin of the Nemean lion.

PP ‘Excited’ About Betting on Wimbledon

Cerne Giant Publicity Stunt by Paddy PowerUnder the cover of dark, a group of 6 Paddy Power henchmen spent 3 hours altering the engraving so that the club now imitates a tennis racket. They etched a ball high above the left hand, as if the giant is tossing it into the air. And, to claim responsibility for the act, the letters “PP” were engraved below the figure.

While this latest publicity stunt has tickled the funny bone of countless people—the intended effect of all Paddy Power’s controversial stunts over the years—it’s also enraged many—as the majority of their stunts do. Paddy Power was clearly promoting sports betting on Wimbledon, and at the same time sending an odd message of congratulations to tennis star Andy Murray, who recently announced he and his wife are expecting.

Commenting on their actions, a representative quipped, “‘We didn’t need Hawkeye to help us spot that the Cerne Abbas Giant was ‘excited’ about Andy Murray’s baby news.”

Humor Lost On Local Preservation Society

A spokeswoman for the National Trust, the agency that preserves the historic Cerne Abbas Giant, didn’t find the comment so humorous.

We’re fans of tennis as much as anyone and pleased to hear of Andy Murray’s news, however we do not encourage any defacing of the Cerne Abbas Giant, however it was done. The Cerne Abbas Giant is protected and we are very concerned about any publicity stunt that may in future encourage damage to this fragile site.”

In apology, the Irish bookmaker donated 5,000 pounds to the National Trust. The alterations to the historical figure were not permanent, and in no way damaged the Cerne Giant. They merely poured white chalk onto the grounds to extend the effects of the carved image. The memories may take much longer to fade, but a few good rains will erase all evidence of the stunt.

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