The Irish gambling company Power Poker has discontinued betting facilities on whether the US president-elect Senator Barack Obama will be assassinated during his first term of office, UK media reported over the weekend. Offering odds on such an event was generally met with distaste from the media, and characterised as "completely inappropriate" by a US Embassy official in Ireland.

Competitor William Hill plc issued a statement confirming that it had refused to offer similar facilities despite some demand from punters. The statement advised: "We have no interest whatsover in betting on the possible death or serious injury of any politician (or anyone else for that matter) in any circumstances."

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "I cannot imagine why any reputable bookmaker would even consider taking such a bet or any punter contemplate placing one.'"

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