Vince McMahon wants fans of professional wrestling to wager real money on the outcome of the predetermined matches.
The controversial WWE boss — who stepped down as CEO last year following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct during his time at the company — has reportedly pitched a pair of state gambling regulators on a plan to take bets on matches at WrestleMania and other major events.
WWE’s plan hinges on tapping accounting firm EY to ensure the scripted match outcomes remain a secret until the event has concluded – a setup that could assuage concerns from sports betting officials about leaks, CNBC reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the discussions
WWE executives have reportedly compared their betting plans to wagers offered by some operators, including DraftKings and FanDuel, on each year’s Academy Award winners. As with wrestling, the award winners are selected well in advance of the Oscars broadcast. However, few states allow wagering on award shows.
EY and another accounting firm, PwC, are known for securing results for events such as the Academy Awards and the Emmys.
The wrestling giant is already “in talks” with officials in Colorado and Michigan regarding the plan, the outlet said.
During the talks with regulators, WWE reps discussed the possibility of determining match results months ahead of time – with wrestlers and other employees only learning the outcome right before the match, according to CNBC.
Even if state officials sign off on WWE’s betting plan, local sportsbook operators would still need to determine whether to take action on the matches, given their scripted nature.
The Post reached out to WWE and EY for comment.
When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Michigan Gaming Control Board said the state will publish any information regarding updates to its sports betting offerings on its website as it becomes available.
The Colorado Division of Gaming told CNBC the state currently bars betting operators from taking wagers on events with predetermined outcomes. A spokesperson said the state is not actively considering allowing bets on WWE events.
The wrestling company’s sports betting plans emerged as McMahon, WWE’s majority owner, seeks a buyer. McMahon is reportedly aiming for a sale price as high as $9 billion, Bloomberg reported last month.
McMahon returned to an active role on the company’s board in January after handing over the reigns to his daughter when he stepped down as WWE’s CEO last year.