Professional wrestling is an odd beast. In-ring performances require an incredible degree of athleticism and physical training. All that effort goes into making not an actual competitive event, but fulfilling the means to an end of a pre-determined outcome. The only honest thing about wrestling is the participants are putting their bodies on the line like stunt performers of yore. It’s unlike anything other professional sports offer, but World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) would like to have at least one thing in common with those sports: betting.
Sports betting is a massive industry worth multiple billions of dollars. WWE wants in on that. They’re seeking to allow people to bet on the outcome of high profile matches. Now, if you’re a logical person you might be thinking to yourself, “How can you allow betting on something like professional wrestling with scripted storylines?” And that is a perfectly reasonable thought. The WWE would counter that though by citing that companies like FanDuel and DraftKings allow betting on the Oscars.
The argument that the WWE is allegedly posing is that Oscar winners are selected in advance and accounting firms like Ernst & Young help keep those results secret and accounted for in advance of the announcements. So in turn, the writers for WWE storylines could write the outcomes of matches in advance, secure those results with an accounting firm, and then everything would be on the up and up? Right?
Part of the problem is the comparison between the Oscars and professional wrestling storylines is not a 1 to 1 relationship. There is a procedure behind Oscar selections from the nomination phase on up. This is decidedly not how the writing of a wrestler’s storyline works out. Betting on who’s going to win a wrestling match, with an outcome that’s entirely based on a pre-determined piece of writing is a much different beast. It’s the equivalent of throwing money down on someone asking, “Which hand am I holding the stick in?” It’s just that there’s an account there to verify which hand.
According to reports, the WWE floated this idea in Michigan, Colorado, and Indiana. Though nothing official has happened yet, the WWE has registered with the Indiana Gaming Commission. The WWE may be looking to sell itself to a larger corporation as well. Having a sports betting plan set-up could make their selling price even higher, or just increase their appeal to more potential buyers. It’s an interesting move to be sure but one that could be fraught with potential legal issues and opportunity for corruption.
Or maybe it’ll just lead to Vince McMahon telling Warren Beatty to come out to announce the wrong winner of a match.