The WWE is considering the potential of authorizing betting on the results of wrestling bouts with casino authorities in both Michigan and Colorado. Matches that are scripted.
The WWE is hoping that authorities would accept its claim that this is no different from betting on award presentations such as the forthcoming Academy Awards. Some bookmakers take action on award ceremonies in certain areas, and the outcomes, like WWE events, are known ahead of time. The vote has taken place, auditors have validated the results, and the envelopes have been printed and sealed. Hence, although award programs aren’t scripted per se (they are, but not in the sense that the results are planned), the winners aren’t known until they are announced live.
Betting businesses may not publish WWE lines if states permit them, but I assume they would if they can profit from it.
Script development would have to adapt.
According to CNBC’s sources, WWE executives feel they will have to modify the way they build their events and write their bouts. They would arrange the scripts and storylines months in advance and keep them hidden from the wrestlers until just before the bout. This way, only a few individuals would know the script; if betting patterns indicated a leak, it would be simple to narrow down the culprits.
CNBC presented an illustration of how it might all work:
“….the WWE could lock the outcomes of Wrestlemania’s main event months ahead of time, based on a planned plot that hinged around the victor of January’s Royal Rumble. Betting on the match could then take place between the conclusion of the Royal Rumble and up to days or even hours before Wrestlemania, when the wrestlers and everyone involved in the show’s preparation would hear the outcome.”
Since the WWE is for sale, approval from gaming authorities might possibly raise the organization’s worth. Betting is a means to increase interest in the WWE, as fans who would not have previously paid attention may suddenly tune in to sweat their stake. They may then continue to watch the program night after night because they love it.
The obvious barrier is keeping the findings behind lock and key. It’s all well and good to keep the inner circle close, but word spreads. Individuals inside the company may not plan to leak the script, but they may mention something in passing to a colleague, a friend, or even a stranger they meet at the store.
Whether or not you like the WWE, this is something to keep an eye on because if it is legalized and successful, it might open up new markets for scripted television series. Consider entering into your mobile sports betting app to place a bet on who shot J.R. Or who will be the next figure to perish on The Walking Dead?
Picture credit: Ed Webster via Flickr