In the Vatican today, cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel to vote for former Pope Benedict XVI’s successor in what some pundits describe as a potential change in direction of the Roman Catholic Church. Bettors are equally invested in the voting results as the new Pope is a popular topic within betting shops and online casinos around the globe. The odds list Canadian Marc Ouellet as one of the top five contenders to lead the Vatican into the next generation.
When former Pope Benedict XVI announced he would resign from his post, the news became popular in media outlets and betting shops around the world. The last Pope to step down rather than serve until his death did so over 600 years ago, which made Benedict’s decision nearly unprecedented. There are 115 members of the College of Cardinals who will vote for Benedict’s successor, but some in the church wonder if the former Pope will influence how the Cardinals vote.
Gamblers seemingly agree that Benedict could sway the votes for his successor, which is why the odds in most betting shops favour Cardinals who were close to the former Pope. One Cardinal is Canadian Marc Ouellet, who received an endorsement from Benedict before he became Pope to be nominated as a Bishop. The two remained close friends over the years, and this closeness is part of why Ouellet is a favourite amongst gamblers. However, the College of Cardinals has also spoken highly of the Canadian.
Pundits close to the Roman Catholic Church indicate the Vatican is torn between adopting a modernized approach to religion, and maintaining a traditionalist practice. Ouellet, dubbed by some Cardinals as being of “the new world,” is a modernist who can connect with younger worshippers, and expand the reach of the Roman Catholic Church. This gives Ouellet, along with Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson – who would become the first black Pope if elected – higher odds to succeed Benedict.
At the same time, traditionalists prefer the status quo, and prefer the status quo of a European elected Pope. Betting shops recognize the distinction between the two segments of the Vatican, and placed equally high odds on Italian Cardinals Angelo Scola and Tarcisio Bertone as Ouellet and Turkson.
The voting begins today, and the Vatican will announce its new Pope when white smoke emits from the chimney as part of the voting procedure – black smoke means a new leader has not been chosen yet.