Videos by OutKick
The sports betting world had a resounding, “Huh?” when reports came down last week that World Wrestling Entertainment was pursuing a deal with sportsbooks.
CNBC reported that WWE reached out to state gambling regulators in Colorado and Michigan regarding potential sports betting on future events. The wrestling promotion had also registered with the Indiana Gaming Commission as well. (Colorado has since denied any truth to their story)
But the question everyone has is… how does this even happen, considering wrestling is *spoiler alert* fake?
OutKick’s Mike Gunz was able to ask UFC President Dana White his thoughts on if he thinks a WWE sports betting deal could happen.
‘THEY’D HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE BETTING ON IT’
Although White admitted he wasn’t familiar with any of the details, he did say that if the deal went through that it would be “fascinating,” and also “if they figure out a way to make it fair, I guarantee you they’d have a lot of people betting on that.”
There’s no question that if the WWE was somehow able to bring in some sort of legal gambling revenue that it would be massive for the wrestling promotion.
The WWE is huge and without a doubt still relevant. Earlier this year their Royal Rumble pay-per-view had the highest gate and viewership for the event.
The WWE is also reportedly looking to sell the company in some fashion to potential buyers, including rumors of a Saudi Arabian Private Investment Firm. Having a sportsbook partnership would only increase their selling price.
THE WWE IS A MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY
To be able to bet on a wrestling match would be great.. if it was just for fun.
But when you start losing hard-earned money on something that the results are known ahead of time to at least a few people involved? Well suddenly that doesn’t sound so great.
Despite reports that WWE would utilize Ernst & Young to secure wrestling results ‘months in advance’ so that they wouldn’t be able to leak, the fact of the matter is there will ALWAYS be multiple people in the know before the public is.
VINCE MCMAHON IS A BUSINESS GENIUS
As I previously wrote, there are just too many questions that make it a very sketchy area for states to get involved.
But then again, you are talking about Vince McMahon. And despite his inexcusable and horrific allegations of abuse, from a business standpoint McMahon has built an absolute empire with the WWE. He has been able to bring it from the wrestling territory days into a multi-billion dollar juggernaut, and Dana White said that his business success speaks for itself.
“Here’s the thing that I’ll never do… I will never doubt Vince McMahon. What is he f’n 80 years old? And he’s still killing. Talk about a guy whose faced tons of adversity in his business, never count Vince McMahon out. If anyone’s going to get that done, it’ll be him,” White told OutKick’s Mike Gunz.
Dana has familiarity with the sports books himself. Both the UFC and most recently his Power Slap League have been available in various legalized sports betting apps.
White’s comments echo one of McMahon’s rivals in former WCW Executive Producer Eric Bischoff, who also spoke about McMahon’s work ethic and importance within the wrestling world. Despite McMahon and Bischoff having both private and public feuds throughout the years, Bischoff told OutKick’s Mike Gunz a few months ago that Vince McMahon can never be doubted – his business track record proves it.
HOW WOULD WRESTLING BETTING EVEN WORK?
There are still many questions involved with bringing in professional wrestling – which by their own definition is “sports entertainment,” and not just “sports” for a reason. It is scripted.
However, Ernst & Young is also the company that is in charge of award show results such as the Oscars. The WWE hopes that E&Y’s solid reputation of no prior leaks of award show winners would prove to sportsbooks that the WWE could do the same.
Personally, I feel like it’s a bit of a stretch. The rise of sports betting has already brought in SO many questions regarding the integrity of the sport, complaints that ‘the fix is in,’ or that ‘Vegas always wins,’ etc. To add a pre-scripted event where the outcome is already known seems like a difficult hurdle as well as a heck of a headache that Gaming Commissions may not want to deal with.
But then again, money does talk. And Vince McMahon has a lot of it. So maybe Dana White is right when he said, ‘Don’t ever doubt Vince McMahon.’