Online Gambling and World Peace: Bringing Rodman and Kim Together

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Online Gambling and World Peace: Bringing Rodman and Kim Together

The Sydney Morning Herald on Friday profiled former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s visits to North Korea and how online gambling – of all things – helped make it happen.

It is none other than Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest gambling house, that has helped bring Rodman together with North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.  The Irish bookmaker has sponsored Rodman’s two most recent trips to the world’s most isolated nation.

Rick Gladstone of the Sydney Morning Herald writes:

How Rodman and Paddy Power came to know each other is rooted in what gambling industry experts call the company's culture of shrewd stunt marketing, offensive ads and the acceptance of wagers on almost anything, ranging from the final episode of The Simpsons to a president's longevity in office.

The relationship began in February, when the company took note of Rodman's highly publicised first visit to North Korea and his declaration of friendship with Mr Kim - just as company officials were strategising to maximise betting profits on the successor to Pope Benedict XVI. They recruited Rodman to encourage betting on a black pope, riding him around Rome in an ersatz popemobile, as speculation intensified that the cardinals closeted in the Sistine Chapel might pick Peter Turkson of Ghana to be the Roman Catholic Church's first African pope.

"We had a money-back special: your money back if the pope's black," Paddy Power spokesman Rory Scott said. So when Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis, was chosen, Mr Scott said jokingly, "our prayers were answered".

During their pope collaboration, Mr Scott said, Rodman and  company executives devised the idea of setting up an international basketball tournament involving North Korea's national team.

Now of course this latest visit comes just days after Kim Jong-un reportedly had his uncle executed so it may be a stretch to tie in the spirit of Christmas with the goings-on in North Korea.

Still, Paddy’s collaboration with Rodman does illustrate the power of online gambling and its positive influence in the world…..despite what pundits might otherwise say to the contrary.

- Jagajeet Chiba,


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