WWE Faces Scrutiny from Regulators: What It Means for Wrestlers and Fans
What’s The Deal With WWE and Its Regulators and What Is It Seeking?
CNBC disclosed an interesting piece of news late. It stated that World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. or the WWE wants the US to legalize betting on its matches. On the surface, it appears to be a reasonable request, right? After all, sports betting is currently allowed in at least 36 US states. You may, then, place an outside wager on your favorite winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award this year. Legally, yes.
But here’s the catch.
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Is WWE A Sport?
You see, if you grew up watching WWE, you probably thought it was all true. I mean, as an innocent child you sat there before the television cheering for one wrestler to win over the other. You had no idea at the time that these matches weren’t precisely spontaneous. That it was scripted, with tales and narratives interwoven. WWE’s had a whole ‘creative’ team that sat down to previously decide on the wrestlers’ moves. And the twists and turns were all whispered into the wrestlers’ ears before the match.
The inference from this and to answer the above-asked question is that WWE is not a sporting event. It is purely for entertainment purposes. Like a movie, everything is scripted.
Then Can WWE be Permitted to Be Bet Upon?
Consider allowing individuals to gamble on such games whose outcomes are known in advance. It wouldn’t be fair, would it? Shrewd bettors may gain insider access and make a fortune.
But, the WWE has its explanation. They’re saying, “Hey, you’ve enabled people to gamble on the Oscars in some jurisdictions. Anyone may have bet on the Oscar-winning “Naatu Naatu”. even though the outcome was known in advance by a small handful of people. Consider the WWE to be something comparable.”
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WWE has even stated that it will cooperate with audit firm EY to ensure that everything remains top secret. To make sure that nothing is flawed in the process. After all, firms like EY and PWC have a track record of working with award ceremonies and keeping the results under wraps.
But Why Is WWE’s Heart Set on Legalising Bets?
Take a look at how sports betting has evolved over the last five years. Since it became legal, billions of dollars have been wagered on the biggest four sports leagues in the United States: basketball, American football, baseball, and ice hockey. There are $180 billion in legal bets. Yet the bookmakers who arrange these bets have made over $14 billion in profits.
It’s no surprise that the NBA warned these bookies, apps, and websites in 2018 that it wanted a 1% cut of every legal wager placed on its games. After all, the NBA games were generating revenue for them. It also wanted a nice meaty portion of it. Even the players would benefit because they would receive half of the income.
When sports betting becomes legal, leagues may experience an increase in TV viewership. It won’t simply be die-hard fans tuning in. Even those hoping to make a fortune through betting will be riveted by the games. Advertisers adore those eyes.
Thanks to sports betting companies joining the game, the NFL (American Football) made a record $1.8 billion in sponsorships in 2021. All of the added interest may result in greater ticket sales. Consumers may purchase more league and team items. Everything. It’s a real moneymaker.
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According to rumors, WWE is looking for a buyer. It is seeking a $9 billion valuation. And if you dangle this new lucrative revenue source in front of a potential buyer, it may increase its valuation even more. The deal will appear more appealing.
Also, keep in mind that the WWE does not have an off-season. It happens every week of the year. It differs from other sports leagues in that the players do not relax. It is the only sports league with more than 20 million TikTok followers.
Nevertheless, we’re not sure how this will pan out for the WWE. At the present, it appears to be a long shot. Legalized sports betting generated about $700 million in tax income for states between 2018 and 2021. And this new industry has created almost 200,000 jobs. The overall picture is that all of this activity is likely to greatly boost GDP. But would it be enough to persuade regulators to allow the betting sector to participate in a scripted ‘sport’?