Bookies to refuse bets on Miss Ireland

BOOKMAKERS Paddy Power said yesterday it would refuse future bets on the Miss Ireland title after a flood of “peculiar” bets on the eventual winner.

The company is to refund all losing bets following “peculiar betting patterns” for the 4/5 favourite and ultimate winner Aoife Cogan.

The weight of betting was such that the odds on Ms Cogan were slashed within a matter of hours from 14/1 to odds-on.

Sharon McHugh, spokesperson for Paddy Power, revealed: “We had a number of punters ringing our shops and seeking to ‘put on as much as possible’ on the favourite.

“With 20 ladies in the shake-up for the title, such requests for someone at 4/5 seemed unusual.”

She said the company was definitely considering not pricing up the Miss Ireland title in future years.

Ms McHugh said: “This is the third consecutive year that we’ve seen unusual betting on the Miss Ireland contest and we have concerns as to whether or not our customers are getting a fair bet.

“We feel sorry for all our customers who had money on the other 19 beautiful girls and so have decided to give all the money back.”

She said the company would like to see the pageant televised and the public having an input in the selection process.

“Otherwise, we would have no interest in accepting future bets on the competition.

“The Paddy Power company is always game to open a book on most events and we do get some unusual requests.

“We even took bets on what songs U2 would launch their series of Dublin concerts.”

Ms McHugh said four-figures sums were placed on the eventual winner in the run-up to Friday night’s decider.

“For obvious reasons, we cannot reveal details but many of the bets came from a certain area,” she said.

The organisers of the Miss Ireland contest could not be contacted yesterday.

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