UK bookie Paddy Power is paying out on the wager that BP CEO Tony Hayward will step down before the end of the year.

More than 500 bets were placed with Paddy Power (www.paddypower.com) on Hayward not to be CEO of BP on Dec. 31. This forced his odds down from two-to-one to one-to-five. Hayward's fortunes -- at least in the eyes of those willing to wager -- were beginning to turn last month (see Daily GPI, June 21).

"Punters seem in absolutely no doubt that Tony Hayward's days as boss of BP are numbered," Paddy Power said Monday. "We've taken over 100 bets on Hayward to go in the past five days alone and not one single bet on him to stay. It's game over as far as we're concerned and we'll be paying out from today."

Paddy Power continues to take bets on the next CEO of BP with American Rob Dudley replacing Englishman Iain Conn as favorite. Dudley, who was assigned by BP to lead the Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, has seen his odds slashed from 10-to-one to seven-to-four favorite following significant betting supporting the 55 year-old executive, Paddy Power said.

Tied with Conn at four-to-one odds is former BP CEO John Browne.

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