MI and CO regulators deny reports on offering WWE betting

WWE fight
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The US betting industry went into somewhat of a meltdown earlier this week when a CNBC report claimed that some states were in talks to legalize WWE betting. BetMGM’s CEO Adam Greenblatt responded in somewhat colorful language at the iGaming Next conference in New York when asked whether it would accept WWE bets. “NFW!” was his response.

Well, he need not worry. Both the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the Colorado Division of Gaming, both cited by the CNBC report, have come out to deny that such talks have taken place. 

The outlet reported that WWE would lock the results of the scripted fights, especially those manufactured months in advance to protect the integrity of the sport. But stakeholders wanted nothing to do with it. 

Now the regulators have echoed those sentiments. 

A statement from the Michigan Gaming Control Board read: “The MGCB has not held direct communications with officials from WWE about offering legal wagering in Michigan on its events.” 

Meanwhile, its Executive Director Henry Williams, said: “Any request for inclusion in Michigan’s Sports Wagering Catalog must be submitted to the MGCB by a Michigan-licensed operator or platform provider, and the agency has not received a formal request regarding WWE events wagering.

“The WWE should work with the gaming industry if it wishes to bring a proposal before the MGCB.”

WWE betting caused the furor with the watches pre-determined before taking place. Comparisons were drawn between this and betting on awards shows such as the Oscars and the Emmys, which technically is legal, though not many states offer these markets. 

Over in Europe, betting on WWE is permitted in the UK, though players’ stakes are heavily limited. But from the initial action of the industry and the following reaction of the regulators, it would not appear that this model will be replicated on the western side of the Atlantic any time soon. 

The Colorado Division of Gaming also stated: “The CDG is not currently and has not considered allowing sports betting markets on WWE matches. At no time has any state gaming regulator in Colorado spoken with the WWE about including wagers on our approved wagers list. 

“By statute, wagers on events with fixed or predicted outcomes or purely by chance are strictly prohibited in Colorado; this includes wagers on the Academy Awards.”

For WWE, this opportunity would have represented a new way to diversify its presence in sporting markets and activate further fan engagement with its products. That is before the possibility of sportsbook partnerships. 

But, for now, it seems, those dreams are firmly off the cards. With industry pushback and regulators not only denying talks but having no knowledge of the situation, it would appear WWE betting is not headed to the US in the foreseeable future.