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Archbishop of Canterbury race closes with pleas for market winnings to be donated

22nd November 2012 / lee

The next Archbishop of Canterbury betting market had been quite an active one for a while, but major online betting site Ladbrokes suspended their betting recently for the race, prior to the announcement of the next head of the Church of England. Such a flurry of activity came in for main candidate, Bishop Welby, that Ladbrokes suspended the market and it wasn’t long before rival William Hill followed suit. The identity of the next Archbishop of Canterbury had been a model of speculation for several months and when it hit a peak, the betting sites were quick to respond.

Some people had suggested that people within the Church and the British Government were already aware of who was going to be named, and that certain parties were trying to take advantage of the inside information by getting wagers down. Whether that is true or not, online bookmakers were hit hard in early November with increased traffic on the popular market. It wasn’t too long after that it was confirmed that Bishop Justin Welby will be stepping into the role of leader of the estimated 77 million Anglicans across the world.

A Tweet from the British Prime Minster David Cameron officially announced the elevation of Welby to the position of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Welby, 56, a former oil company executive will replace the incumbent Rowan William, who announced back in March of 2012 that he would be stepping down from the Church of England. The former Eton graduate eventually emerged as favourite following apparent deadlocks among the church commission over who should next assume the role. Still in his current position in the diocese of Durham, he will officially take the Church of England’s most senior position on March 21st, 2013 in an official ceremony to be held at Canterbury Cathedral.

During the run up to becoming the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Welby had to keep all details quite of course. But once the announcement was made following the suspension of betting on him, he tweeted  “Thought in the night, those who made money betting on me give it to their local church! I suspect it was less than papers suggest.”

Sadly from Welby’s point of view, there wasn’t much of a response from that, with Ladbrokes saying that they paid out around £2000 on the market only because of the short odds that Welby was trading at. lBetting site Ladbrokes did announce that they were making a £1000 donation of their own to Canterbury Cathedral with the hope to get the ball rolling and encourage punters to follow Bishop Welby’s plea and donate their winnings.

Welby summed up his Archbishop race saying: “It’s a very strange feeling when you find yourself having odds quoted on you at a bookie. Generally speaking I am not a horse – I think that’s a really important point to get across.”

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