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
Local

Local politicians pressure DOJ to investigate Ramarley Graham…

On what would have been his 21st birthday, Ramarley Graham's mother joined elected leaders to ask the U.S. Department of Justice investigate his death.

Local

Muslim leaders welcome NYPD surveillance changes with degree…

Leaders and advocates praise the NYPD's move to shut down a unit tied to its Muslim surveillance program but say there's more left to do.

Local

PHOTOS: More than $12 million in heroin, crystal…

Authorities seized more than 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth from two stash houses this week during a Manhattan drug bust.

Local

How to donate during the blood drive at…

The Metro-North Railroad and New York Blood Center are hosting a blood drive at Grand Central Terminal Thursday.

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

Masahiro Tanaka dominates Cubs over eight shutout innings

Masahiro Tanaka certainly had no-hit caliber stuff Wednesday as he allowed just two bunt singles.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.