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Papal conclave attracting more bets than the Oscars

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Sistine Chapel; Papal conclave starts later this week

The Irish bookmaker, Paddy Power, has described this weeks conclave in the Vatican as "getting to be a bigger non-sporting betting event than the Oscars Hollywood movie awards."

The bookmaker has been taking bets all week on who will be the next Pope, with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger the 3-1 favourite. Second favorite was a Frenchman; Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger. The betting firm revealed that one customer has placed €1,000 (US$1,287) on the former Jew.

In third place is a 78 year old Italian, Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini. Like the late Pope John Paul II, Martini has Parkinson's disease and is quite conservative. He was also a close confidante of John Paul II who debated with the theologian on Church dogma.

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