Australian bookmaker Sportsbet is being criticized in both the traditional media and social media for offering odds on the outcome of a vote on whether or not to legalize gay marriage Down Under. The company is just the latest operator to learn that the dictum, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” may not always be true.

Sportsbet is offering a number of wagers on the Aussie gay marriage vote including bets on the outcome, the number of votes cast, and the percentage that vote in favor of the measure. Bets on a “yes” vote pay out $1.38, will a “no” victory would pay out $3.

While Sportsbet didn’t openly take a stand on the matter, a spokesman told the website News.com.au:

If the sentiment from our customers is any guide, the Yes vote will be the winner in the postal vote and it’s becoming more and more apparent every day.

That sentiment wasn’t enough to stop an onslaught of criticism across the media and political spectrum. Alex Greenwich , a Sydney MP who’s very active in the gay marriage vote blasted Sportsbet saying:

o vote on the validity of some Australians’ relationships is bad enough, but to bet on them is a whole new low,I think Sportsbet, to be making money on this process, is deeply concerning.

Greenwhich went on to suggest that Sportsbet donate any money that it makes on the wagers to Australian LGBT organizations.

A spokesman for Sportsbet defended the wagers saying that the company has long offered odds on the outcome of political activities and that this situation is no different from offering odds on the outcome of a presidential election.


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