As expected, black smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday night, the first day of the anticipated conclave. The smoke confirmed expectations that the 115 cardinal electors would not be able to elect a new pope and that there is no strong frontrunner at this point.
The wagers at Irish bookmaker reflects the sentiments as there was hardly any change in the ranking of the top 3 contenders, namely Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola in first place, Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer in second place and Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson in third place.
However, Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle significantly moved up to seventh from tenth place with an improved chance of 16-1 from the previous day's 20-1.
In contrast, Cardinal Scola's odds also decreased to 11-4, while Cardinals Scherer and Turkson improved to 7-2 and 11-2, respectively.
The change in wagers' preference appears to mirror the growing anti-Curia and anti-Italian sentiment over the Vatileaks.
Even if there is no pope yet to hold regular audience with Vatican visitors, tourists nevertheless continued to pour in St Peter Square to watch the on goings and monitor the famous chimney.
Spotted among the crowd of chimney watchers by TVNZ.co.nz was former European Commission President Romano Prodi.
ABC reported the black smoke came out one hour later than anticipated.
"It was a late entry for the smoke. Everyone was expecting it about an hour before it actually did appear. And when it did, there was a touch of white or grey in it - everyone held their breath and then it was very rapidly turned black," said ABC European correspondent Mary Gearin.
One impact of the black smoke is the weak sales of souvenir vendors since Benedict XVI tea towels and ashtrays are no longer so popular. Yet they could not pre-order new sets of key chains, coin purses and shot glasses unless they are sure whose face will be on these items. Will it be a cardinal from Italy, Brazil, Ghana, Canada, U.S., or will the cardinals surprise the world and elect as pope a cardinal who is not considered for now a papabili?