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Monday, April 11, 2005

Will the Pope Make Me a Betting Woman?

Numbers aren’t my thing. I’m a writer. But I just discovered some numbers I could really get into….Pope numbers. The odds on which guy is going to don the white garments as white smoke rise from the Sistine Chapel.

People all over the world are placing their bets and could make bit of cash on this most holy selection. Check out tradesports.com (navigate to ‘Current Events: The Papacy’) and you’ll see for yourself. A friend introduced me to this site in the wee hours of the morning; isn’t that the best time for shady dealings? My first questions were 1) is this illegal? and 2) will I go to hell for betting on the next Pope? Not sure of the answers, but I bet you’ll be just as intrigued as I am.

Tradesports.com is a betting and trading exchange registered in Ireland lets you buy and sell contracts on the outcomes of a variety of world events, from the winner of the Masters to the outcome of the Michael Jackson trial. Tradesports is running two sets of exchanges related to the next Pope -- one on who it will be and one on which country the next Pope will come from.

I'm not the best person to explain this, but this trading system works something like a cross between an auction and the stock market. You can buy and sell you contracts on the next Pope up until the moment of the Vatican announcement. If you choose the right man or country, you win $100. Currently, the asking price on a contract for Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan to become Pope is $23. The asking price on a contract for an Italian to become the next Pope is $43. Of course there has to be a contract available on the outcome you want to put your money on.

Those who believe in "the markets" say this is best information out there on the outcome of who will become Pope (or anything else for that matter).

Here are the tradesports.com favorites for Pope:
1. Tettamanzi of Italy (odds - 1 in 4.35)
2. Arinze of Nigeria
3. Maradiaga of Honduras
4. Hummes of Brazil (odds - 1 in 9)

(Random note: Another friend swears the next Pope will be the Argentinian Bergoglio and even opened a trading account just to put her money where her mouth is. She may be on to something though. South America has an exploding Catholic population and if the Italians can't have their own Pope, they certainly have strong ties with Argentina.)

And the tradesports.com favorite for the country of origin for the next Pope:
1. Italy (odds -- a staggering 1 in 2.33)
2. Honduras
3. Nigeria
4. France (odds - 1 in 15)

As you may know, the Holy Spirit is supposed to guide the Cardinals in their decision to pick a new Pope. No idea if the markets can capture the direction of such an entity. Oh, and on that going to hell thing -- well, it seems the Irish bookmakers aren't risking it either. They paused all trading during Pope John Paul's funeral.

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