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7 Questions About WWE’s Reported Push for Gambling on Wrestling (And a Few Answers)

7 Questions About WWE’s Reported Push for Gambling on Wrestling (And a Few Answers) article feature image

On Wednesday, CNBC reported that WWE is in talks with state gambling regulators in Colorado and Michigan to legalize betting on matches. The news caught us, and many others, completely off guard, as betting on something that is admittedly scripted has always seemed unlikely.

CNBC reported WWE was working with accounting firm EY to ensure that, just like award shows, leaks wouldn’t happen. But could this actually happen? Could you actually legally be allowed to bet on WWE in the United States at one of the major sportsbooks?

Here are the questions we have about potentially betting on WWE … and some answers we’ve been able to find.

7 Questions About WWE’s Reported Push for Gambling on Wrestling (And A Few Answers)

Will it work? Is it feasible?

Sources told the Action Network that most of the sportsbooks that have been presented with the potential for betting on WWE don’t think the juice is worth the squeeze — that even if a few states allowed betting to happen, the exposure would be too much for a relatively low-handle event.

The news Wednesday generated an incredible amount of buzz, and there is no doubting the effectiveness of WWE’s executive team. But this is a long, long shot that, as of now, just seems hard to fathom getting done any time soon.

Can’t I bet on WWE already?

Not legally at any of the licensed sportsbooks in the United States. European sportsbooks like Betfair sometimes offer odds on professional wrestling, and we have referenced those odds before for events like Royal Rumble, but only for entertainment purposes.

What CNBC has reported would be a new day for WWE and sports betting in the United States.

How many people typically know the result of a WWE match ahead of time?

The answer depends, but it is a lot more than you might think, and presumably even more than who know what is in the envelope for the Oscars.

Key members of the WWE executive and creative teams know, and the broadcast teams often do (although not always). Higher-ranking members of WWE’s broadcast partners sometimes have an indication of the outcome of high-profile matches so those partners can prepare for their coverage. And that’s just those we have a high degree of confidence in saying know the results beforehand. There are undoubtedly others.

It’s hard to understand how WWE could get it down to a number that would make regulators comfortable betting wouldn’t be compromised, although one would imagine that process was part of their reported pitch. We also don’t know what sort of limitations WWE might have pitched around who would be prohibited from betting on matches and how that might be enforced internally.

Is there anything in sports that can be bet on where the result is known?

Not really. It’s why you generally can’t legally bet on the National Anthem at the Super Bowl or the order of the songs in the halftime show. The potential results there are usually known before the actual event, as there are rehearsals. A halftime show sponsor can bring hundreds of people to those rehearsals, in addition to those working on the production. Offshore books take action, but limit betting to lower exposure.

Legal wagering on scripted events such as popular television shows isn’t unheard of in other countries, but in the United States, there isn’t anything quite like betting on WWE matches.

What about Michigan and Colorado make sense here?

These gaming control boards tend to be more loose with their rules. Both Michigan and Colorado, for example, allow betting on the Oscars, while many other states do not. But to compare results of an award show with a completely scripted wrestling match is apples and oranges.

Moreover, CNBC subsequently reported Colorado might not be an option as originally reported.

Update to the story – Colorado says it isn’t considering allowing betting on WWE matches. Sounds like WWE has some convincing to do…

(Or maybe just focus on Michigan!)

— Alex Sherman (@sherman4949) March 9, 2023

What type of matches could be bet on?

While this is still a very big long shot, and it’s hard to envision that sportsbooks would ever routinely be able to offer wrestling, perhaps a WrestleMania or a Royal Rumble could make sense. According to the CNBC report, WWE has pitched having results set months ahead of the in-ring events — but bigger matches could conceivably be even harder to keep secret.

Wrestling fans might also envision WWE “player props,” like how many times Roman Reigns will spear Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania. There is no indication that was part of WWE’s pitch, however.

Who is pushing this?

WWE very much wants to be in on the betting game, sources confirmed to the Action Network, and it would make the company more valuable to a suitor as it tries to sell itself.

As for the books? DraftKings has done a free-to-play game based around picking the right wrestlers to win during individual matches to win DK Dollars (cash credits), but that’s the closest any legal operator has come to professional wrestling.

This is a developing story.

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