The effort by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to make legal wagering on scripted professional wrestling events a reality had taken another turn. It seems betting on the company that bills itself as “sports entertainment” won’t happen at Michigan sportsbooks any time soon.
A statement from the Michigan Gaming Control Board, released on Thursday, indicated that the Board has had no discussion with WWE to advance the idea.
Henry Williams, MGCB executive director, said the only way for people to wager legally on the WWE is for a Michigan-licensed operator or platform provider to request it.
“Any request for inclusion in Michigan’s Sports Wagering Catalog must be submitted to the MGCB … and the agency has not received a formal request regarding WWE events wagering,” Williams said in the news statement. “The WWE should work with the gaming industry if it wishes to bring a proposal before the MGCB.”
Process For A Request
The MGCB said in the statement that it has not held direct communications with the WWE officials about offering legal wagering on Michigan sports betting apps or at retail outlets. In the release issued by the MGCB, a third-party consultant approached the MGCB more than a year ago about a proposal to add WWE events to the Michigan’s wagering catalog but the agency hasn’t received any further information.
That’s how it goes in the state: The MGCB receives catalog requests only from licensed sportsbook operators.
According to a CNBC report, the WWE is looking at legalized betting on scripted matches. The report said the company has held discussions with state gambling regulators in Colorado and Michigan, but officials in both states denied that.
Colorado was even more blunt about its reaction to the idea of WWE betting than Michigan was. In a statement on Thursday, the Colorado Department of Revenue said that “The Colorado Division of Gaming is not currently and has not considered sports betting wagers on WWE matches,” adding that wagers on events with “fixed or predicted outcomes .. are strictly prohibited in Colorado.”
Academy Awards Betting Legal in Michigan
There is one venue for non-sports wagering in the Great Lakes State, and that is on The Academy Awards. This year’s Oscars are taking place this Sunday in Los Angeles, and DraftKings Michigan Sportsbook is one of the operators offering odds on major awards categories.
As for pro wrestling? How the WWE would avoid releasing scripted results to a betting public is at the heart of the issue.
The WWE aims to work with accounting firm Ernst & Young to ensure that doesn’t happen. According to the CNBC report, WWE executives point to betting on events like the Academy Awards as a comparison to show how betting on scripted events like WWE is safe. EY also works with the awards show to keep the results secret.
How Betting Proposal Could Impact WWE
If betting were to become legal, WWE says that its wrestlers wouldn’t know the results of their matches until hours before performing. That, of course, would impact how WWE prepares for its shows and scripts its storylines.
The Sports Wagering Catalog provides guidance and lists leagues, events and wagers allowed in Michigan. When the catalog is updated, it is shared publicly on the MGCB’s website and with sportsbook operators.
As for upcoming events without scripted outcomes – such as March Madness, NBA and NHL playoffs, and the start of Major League Baseball’s regular season – check out the best Michigan betting bonuses at BetMichigan before placing a wager.