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Gamblers Place Bets on Who Will Be Next Pope

Visitors wait for the chimney smoke in St. Peter's Square during the second day of the conclave to elect a new pope, at the Vatican, Mar. 13, 2013.
Bookmakers who run websites in several nations are taking wagers on which candidate will become the next pope.

Some oddsmakers say Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola is the most likely to be the next spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. The Paddy Power website puts his odds at 11-4.

Ghana's Cardinal Peter Turkson is also at or near the top of some oddsmakers' lists, along with Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Brazil, and Canada's Marc Ouellet.

Thousands of people have placed wagers, and millions of dollars could be made in bets.

The church frowns on such betting, and in the United States it is illegal to wager on what is essentially an election.

The gamblers betting on the favorites may lose their money. An article on the Religion News Service says in 2005, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s odds were 20-1, ranking him outside of the top 10 candidates. He became Pope Benedict.

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