DUBLIN, Ireland – While the world discusses the passing of one pope and imminent election of another, Ireland is putting its money where its mouth is – and having a bet on Pope John Paul II’s successor.
Paddy Power PLC, Ireland’s largest bookmaking chain, resumed betting Monday in its shops and on the Internet on the question, “Who will be the next pope?” The firm suspended betting Sunday in a gesture of respect to John Paul, who died Saturday, but quickly resumed because of interest from gamblers worldwide.
The early favorites were Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan and Francis Arinze of Nigeria, both listed at 11-4 odds. That means a winning $4 bet would pay out $15.
The biggest bet so far, $1,300, has been on Tettamanzi. At one central Dublin outlet of Paddy Power, Seamus Hegarty spent a cool, calculating 20 minutes before putting his 10 euro note on a 25-1 shot: Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico.
Hegarty, 49, who says he simply had to place a bet on someone so that he could maximize his enjoyment of watching events unfold from the Vatican. “I’ll be doing a Mexican wave every time the news is on the telly,” he said.
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras was third with 9-2 odds, followed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany and Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Brazil, both with odds of 7-1.
Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino of Cuba, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli of Florence and Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Austria came next, all on odds of 14-1. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re of Italy stood alone at 16-1, while three others – Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos of Colombia, and Cardinals Crescenzio Sepe and Giacomo Biffi, both of Italy – merited 18-1.