Legal betting on WWE matches? NFW, say gambling operators
Becky Lynch celebrates defeating Bianca Belair at SummerSlam 2021.
World Wrestling Entertainment
It is clear why World Wrestling Entertainment that they would want headlines about the prospect of punters being allowed to legally bet on scripted games, and it’s not all about trying to sell the increase company.
Betting increases fan engagement. Just ask the NFL, MLB, the NCAA – even the people who organize ping pong. They all get upside when fans can bet on the games.
Massachusetts just launched mobile betting on Fridays, but no one there can legally bet on “Friday Night SmackDown” games. “The WWE is not a licensed sports league,” the Massachusetts Gaming Commission points out.
Colorado regulators aren’t happy with the prospect of it even being floated. “The Colorado Department of Gaming does not currently and has not considered allowing sports betting on WWE matches,” they said. “At no time has Colorado’s state gaming regulator approached the WWE about include bets on our approved bets list.”
Colorado statute prohibits “gaming on events with fixed or predictable outcomes or mere chance,” and that includes the Academy Awards. Seven other states allow betting on the Oscars, in Indiana and New Jersey do not allow live betting, and limit the amount of bets.
As in most states, Michigan only accepts requests from gambling operators or platforms, and WWE has not even made a request, according to the state’s gaming control board. They issued a public statement advising WWE to work with the gaming industry.
That could be an even bigger hurdle than getting past game controllers.
“NFW!” Adam Greenblatt, CEO of BetMGM, answered whether he would be willing to accept bets on scripted WWE matches. BetMGM is the US market leader in iGaming, or casino games played online. He was speaking at iGamingNext, an industry conference, earlier this week. (NFW stands for “no f—-ing way.” Talk about a smackdown!)
The response from FanDuel was less colorful or public, but a spokesperson said it’s highly unlikely the nation’s sports betting market leader would ever accept a bet.
Kings Draft protested, saying it would be up to the governors.
FanDuel, which was with Flutter Entertainment, says that allowing betting on the Academy Awards, once a year, is completely different from considering the popularity of weekly scripted programs, at least twice a week since WWE.
The legal gambling industry places a premium on avoiding scandal. The American Gaming Association, which represents both commercial and tribal operators, told CNBC: “Both regulators and operators need to have confidence in the integrity of the tournaments.”
Gambling punters are skeptical that betting on scripted events that are likely to be relatively small in terms of betting activity is worth the huge amount of frustration and risk.
“Ultimately, it appears that most industry stakeholders view WWE betting as even more optically challenging than award show betting,” said Sharp Alpha Advisors managing director Lloyd Danzig. .