Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has become a contender to fill the recently vacated position of Pope, at least according to Irish bookmakers Paddy Power.
The bets being placed on who the new Pope will be brought a surge of business to Paddy Power who believes the betting could set the record for a non-sporting event.
Rory Scott, spokesman for Paddy Power, said to the Christian Post ,"We'd be comfortable saying it's a million dollar market and certainly it's on track to be the biggest non-sporting event in Paddy Power's history.”
"I think pope betting has really captured people's imagination," he added.
With much speculation surrounding who the next Pope could be, bets are going strong. However, the speculation is due to increase further as the College of Cardinals imposed a formal media blackout on Wednesday, effectively barring any communication with the news media.
Currently, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson is continuing a steady hold on the lead with 11/4 (meaning that bettors would win 11 euros for every 4 staked) among the rest of the potential Popes.
However, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has seen a late surge to the front of the pack. Though initially not thought to be a serious contender, Cardinal O’Malley rose to 25/1 for 12th place from way behind at his original odds of 125/1.
At press time Cardinal O’Malley had fallen to 33/1, which still ended up bumping him into a shared 9th place. Cardinal O’Malley is also currently tied with other American, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who both have odds of 33/1.
Of Cardinal O’Malley’s jump in the betting, Scott said, "That means one thing. We've seen more money for him – from starting life at 125/1 – that's a huge jump and the betting would now suggest he's a serious contender rather than an also ran.”
"We've seen a lot of small bets coming in for him [O'Malley]. Perhaps they [bettors] know something that we don't know,” added Scott.
Though he may be on the rise in betting pools, Boston’s own Cardinal Sean O’Malley doesn’t seem all too optimistic about the thought of becoming the next Pope. Vatican experts also see the Boston Cardinal as a longshot.
When asked by The Boston Globe about potentially changing his now famous ‘cappuccino robe,’ O’Malley said “I have worn this uniform for over 40 years, and I presume I will wear it until I die, because I don't expect to be elected pope.”
Stammering slightly, he added, "so – I don't – expect to have a change of wardrobe."