For hopefully the last time, WWE betting is not coming to legal US sportsbooks. Despite the news of Endeavor merging with WWE to create a new joint company that will represent a powerful force in the combat sports entertainment industry, such markets are not coming off the top rope anytime soon.
The prevailing issue that makes WWE events untenable for regulated sportsbooks in the US remains in place. That aspect of WWE’s product is highly unlikely to change and the prospect of legal gambling is probably not enough to incentivize such changes.
Endeavor merger prompts thoughts of WWE betting
On Monday, the search for a new owner for WWE likely ended. According to multiple reports, the parent company of UFC, Endeavor, will merge with WWE. The new publicly traded company will consist of both operations.
However, Endeavor’s current leadership will run the joint company, per Mike Calia and Alex Sherman of CNBC. Additionally, the two products will retain separate operations. While there has been some crossover in the past between these entities, in the form of popular UFC fighters making cameo appearances during WWE events, we’re probably not going to see any mixed events.
Most legal US sportsbooks offer a variety of markets on UFC events regularly. At the same time, activity by the same companies on WWE events is relegated to free-to-play prediction games. Such contests are not common across most prominent online sportsbooks, either.
There’s a massive difference between UFC and the WWE that corresponds to those differences in how sportsbooks treat them. It’s also the reason why despite the ownership change, nothing is going to change in terms of how sports betting apps view the WWE.
Why you won’t have WWE betting available on US sportsbooks
Calia and Sherman reported that stock in the new company should be available later this year. That will probably be the closest you’ll ever get to betting on WWE events, though.
The big obstacle is the same reason gambling regulators in two states refuted the notion of allowing such bets earlier this year. The issue? WWE events are scripted. Many people know the outcomes of the dances (let’s be honest, it’s a ballet for people who don’t want to go to the ballet) before the shows begin.
For that reason, it’s outside of the ring of what sportsbooks can or should offer betting action on. UFC events, on the other hand, are actual competitions. Outside of setting the order in which fights will happen, there is no scripting.
To become allowable for gambling, WWE would have to completely morph its framework into live competitions. Making such a drastic change just to capture what little revenue legal sports betting could bring in would be counterproductive. According to Calia and Sherman, the scripted route has made WWE worth over $9 billion.
What Endeavor will do with the WWE soap opera in the future remains to be seen. Sportsbooks in the US will continue to treat it as the made-for-TV drama that it is.