PHOTOS: Who could replace Benedict XVI as the next pope?

British and Irish bookmakers ranked Nigeria’s Cardinal Francis Arinze, Peter Turkson of Ghana and Canadian Marc Ouellet on Monday as favorites to lead the Roman Catholic Church, setting odds swiftly after Pope Benedict’s shock resignation.

William Hill, Britain’s largest bookmaker, offered odds of 3/1 against for Arinze, or a probability of 25 percent, while Ouellet and Turkson were priced at 7/2 against, meaning successful punters would win seven pounds for every two staked.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power had the same three cardinals as leading contenders but placed Ouellet as favorite ahead of the two Africans. Britain’s Ladbrokes narrowly made Turkson its initial frontrunner.

“I have been taking bets on the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury for as long as I care to remember,” said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe, denying that gambling on the papal succession was blasphemous.

“It’s fair to say that this is the first papal punt to be decided in the full Internet betting era,” he added, noting the growth of online gambling could make for a more lively market.

“It’s not going to rival the Champions League (soccer) but it will produce enough turnover to make it worth doing.”

Arinze and Benedict, who was then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, were both among the bookmakers’ favorites in 2005 when the German was elected to succeed Pope John Paul II, Sharpe said.

Two outsiders on the Paddy Power list of contenders showed the Irish bookmaker’s customary eye for a publicity stunt.

Dark horses included the British scientist and atheism campaigner Richard Dawkins on 666/1 and the fictional Father Dougal McGuire, a hapless priest from the 1990s Irish TV comedy show ‘Father Ted’ on 1000/1, the same odds as the Irish U2 singer Bono.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox top Yankees, 5-1

John Lackey shines, Pineda ejected in Red Sox win

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston…

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston greedy for more dominance

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."