During these tough economic times, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is doing exceptionally well. Now, Ireland’s biggest betting Web site is capitalizing even more on the recession by inviting users to place bets on the economy.

Do you think a Communist revolution will occur in Ireland by 2010? Odds are slim at 100/1, but some are putting their money on it.

Would you bet your bottom dollar that Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen will resign by 2010, eloping with unpopular Irish Minister for Health Mary Harney and head off to the Caribbean? This one’s even more of a long shot according to the betting experts at Paddy Power, who set the odds at 500/1.

The Irish bookmaker is quite pleased with the current market forecast for its 2009 performance, which is a whole lot more than most companies can say at the moment.

Their growth in online business is mostly attributed to the amount bet on sports of Irish interest. Most recently, the company made a successful move into the Australian betting market with their purchase of a 51 percent stake in Sportsbet, a popular racing and other sports online bookmaker in Australia.

But Paddy Power’s non-sports-related bets are a hit with gamblers, too, especially the wacky ones. The Web site’s members were more than eager to put their money on whether Susan Boyle would become the next Playboy centerfold (odds were set at 500/1).

Other questions Paddy Power is asking betters is whether Brian Cowen will lose the next general Irish election and proceed to stage a military coup in bid to remain in power (50/1); if the Irish Government will place extra tax on Holy Water (100/1); whether South County Dublin will secede from the rest of Ireland by the end of 2010 (100/1); and if tourists will be charged for asking for directions in County Kerry (100/1).

Some of the more likely bets on the economy include the postulation that the Irish Government’s jet will be sold off to save money this year (12/1), and the guess that unemployment in Ireland will hit 20 percent by September (4/1).

But for those of you sick of banking on a grim future in Ireland, stick with the bets on Harney and Holy Water - you may lose a few bucks, but at least you'll have fun in the process!