World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is in discussions with US state regulators to legalise betting on high-profile matches, according to CNBC.
Regulators in Colorado and Michigan are understood to be engaged in talks with WWE over the concept, whereby scripted match results would be protected by Ernst & Young (EY).
The prospect of betting on a predetermined outcome will undoubtedly raise questions over sporting integrity, as well as the potential for match fixing.
If there are sportsbooks spending any amount of time/energy working on offering/regulating WWE betting, please eject them into the sun because almost all of them should have far more important things to do.
— Dustin Gouker (@DustinGouker) March 9, 2023
One way to alleviate those concerns, according to CNBC, is to adopt a tactic used historically by awards shows like the Oscars and the Emmys.
Accounting firms such as PwC and EY have worked with these ceremonies previously to keep the results a secret.
This method has cleared the path for operators to offer consumer betting markets on the events.
Betting on the Academy Awards is already legal and available through some US sports betting apps, including market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings, although most states don’t allow it.
The WWE news broke during iGaming NEXT NYC, where BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt was invited to share his live reaction on stage in front of a capacity crowd of iGaming executives.
CNBC television journalist Contessa Brewer, who anchored the Keynote Talk with Greenblatt, asked: “Would you be interested in taking bets on WWE?”
BetMGM chief Greenblatt replied with an acronym of his own – “NFW”, which is short for “no f*cking way”. The audience erupted with laughter in response.
Betting on Scripted outcomes?🤣😂🤣
I don't care what security measures the WWE says they'll implement, there is way too much of a chance for fraud.
One of the wrestlers knows the outcome and they signal something subtle at the start of the match and friends on the inside start… https://t.co/BY29VRmy4a
— Alby (@albyva) March 9, 2023
Despite his initial rejection of the idea, Greenblatt admitted that offering wagering on markets outside of traditional sports betting can be very lucrative for bookmakers.
“You can be very successful, especially with the game shows and the talent shows in terms of who’s going to win,” said Greenblatt.
“Betting around that creates a lot of buzz because the shows have record audiences. What is also helpful is the role of social media and the commentary around it,” he added.
Greenblatt described those types of markets as “interesting and exciting”, but admitted they are simply not part of the betting catalogue in most US states at the present time.