June 1, 2010 / 9:24 PM / in 8 years

Bookie, poll see uncertain future for BP, CEO

HOUSTON, June 1 (Reuters) - Oil giant BP (BP.L) and its Chief Executive Tony Hayward may not survive the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, if odds from an Irish bookie and the results of an online poll are right.

Bookmaker Paddy Power said it was offering punters who want to bet that Hayward won’t be in his job by end-year odds of 8/11, and those who would like to bet he will, evens, suggesting it believes it is more likely Hayward will depart.

Given these odds, a $10 bet on Hayward staying would win the gambler $10 if he keeps his job, while a $10 bet he does not will only win the gambler $7.27 if he departs.

A poll by CNBC, a financial news cable channel watched by many U.S. investors, found that 63 percent of those responding to a survey on its website think BP will be fine in a year.

However, it found 25 percent believe the company will be under bankruptcy protection and 12 percent expect BP to go under — unusually gloomy views of a company with debt rated AA, close to the highest level given to non-sovereign bonds.

BP insists that it is strong enough financially to handle the costs of the oil spill. Most analysts agree and on Tuesday, the White House also said the company had the resources to pay for the damage.

Paddy Power is also taking bets on the chances of wildlife, including Bluefin Tuna, Brown Pelicans and Smalltooth Sawfish, being driven to extinction by the spill.

The outlook for the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle is seen as the most pessimistic, with punters being offered less than even odds on bets it will not survive. (Reporting by Tom Bergin, Editing by Eric Walsh)

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