Betting on Papal Election Could Net Millions

Within 48 hours of Benedict's resignation, more than 20,000 people had placed bets with one Irish bookmaker alone.

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Nuns stand in front of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, on Feb. 28, 2013.

As senior leaders of the Roman Catholic Church gather in Rome to elect a new pontiff, one of Ireland’s largest bookmakers, Paddy Power, predicts that bettors will wager as much as $7 million on who will be the next pope, reports ABCNews. Spokesman Rory Scott told Gannett it will be the “biggest round of non-sporting betting in Paddy Power history.”

(More: Who Will Be the Next Pope? Bookmakers Place Their Bets)

Within 48 hours of Benedict’s resignation, more than 20,000 people had placed bets on his successor. People can also bet the next Pontiff’s age, nationality and name, Gannett reported.

The current favorite, according to Paddy Power, is Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana, Reuters reported, with odds of 11 to 4 against (meaning that bettors would win 11 euros for every 4 staked). The bookmaker’s second favorite is Italian Archbishop Angelo Scola, with odds of 5 to 2.

Paddy Power has made a name for itself  in the field of novelty betting. It raked in $1.3 million on the last papal vote, according to MSN, and the company has also hosted wagers on the survival of the polar bears and whether or not President Obama would be assassinated during his first term.

(More: Cashing In On Obama-Taking a Punt on the President)