WWE BUSINESS: WWE in talks with state gambling regulators to legalize betting on scripted match results (CNBC.com)

Posted on 3/09/123 by Mike Informer

WWE in talks with state gambling regulators to legalize
betting on scripted match results

2023 3:45 PM EST

Alex Sherman

WWE is in talks with state gambling regulators in Colorado
and Michigan to legalize betting on high-profile matches,
according to people familiar with the matter.

WWE is working with the accounting firm EY to secure
scripted match results in hopes it will convince regulators
there's no chance of results leaking to the public, said the
people, who asked not to be named because the discussions
are private. Accounting firms PwC and EY, also known as
Ernst & Young, have historically worked with award shows,
including the Academy Awards and the Emmys, to keep results
a secret.

Betting on the Academy Awards is already legal and available
through some sports betting applications, including market
leaders FanDuel and DraftKings, although most states don't
allow it. WWE executives have cited Oscars betting as a
template to convince regulators gambling on scripted matches
is safe, the people said.

Still, while Academy Awards voting results are known by a
select few before they're announced publicly, they aren't
scripted by writers. Even if regulators allow gambling,
betting companies would have to decide if they're willing to
place odds on WWE matches even if it's legalized. Those
discussions have yet to occur at betting firms, according to
people familiar with the matter.

A WWE spokesperson declined to comment. A spokesperson for
EY couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

According to a Michigan gaming spokesperson, the Michigan
Gaming Control Board publishes a Sports Wagering Catalog.
When updates to the catalog are approved, the information is
shared publicly through the agency's website and with
sportsbook operators.

The Colorado Division of Gaming told CNBC it has not
currently and has not considered allowing sports betting
wagers on WWE matches.

Under lock and key

If WWE succeeds in its bid to legalize gambling on matches,
it could open the door for legalized betting on other
guarded, secret scripted events, such as future character
deaths in TV series.

Allowing gambling on certain WWE matches would alter how
matches are produced – and how storylines are created. In
discussions about how gambling on wrestling could work, WWE
executives have proposed that scripted results of matches be
locked in months ahead of time, according to people familiar
with the matter. The wrestlers themselves wouldn't know
whether they were winning or losing until shortly before a
match takes place, said the people.

For example, the WWE could lock the results of
Wrestlemania's main event months ahead of time, based on a
scripted storyline that hinged to the winner of January's
Royal Rumble. Betting on the match could then take place
between the end of the Royal Rumble and up to days or even
hours before Wrestlemania, when the wrestlers and others in
the show's production would learn the results.

The introduction of legalized gambling could give WWE an
increased appeal to a new set of fans while significantly
altering creative storylines. Paul Levesque, whose wrestling
name is Triple H, took over as head of WWE's creative
operations from Vince McMahon in July. McMahon stepped down
as WWE chairman and CEO last year amid sexual misconduct
allegations but returned to the WWE board in January as
executive chairman to prepare the company for a sale

WWE is set to meet with potential buyers for the company
next month in preparation for first-round bids, two of the
people said. There's no assurance a transaction will take

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