DraftKings Sportsbook to become Major Partner with the WWE

DraftKings, one of the leading online sportsbooks in New Jersey, has officially agreed terms to enter into a new business partnership with the World Wresting Entertainment Inc (the WWE), that will see the Boston-based DFS and sports betting giant named as the brand’s ‘official gaming partner’. The collaboration will center on DraftKings’ popular free-to-play pools product, as betting on the WWE bouts is still illegal in most jurisdictions.

However, as DraftKings Chief Business Officer Ezra Kucharz puts it, the partnership will assist to “fuel the engagement and drama of WWE’s signature matchups and storylines, as audiences enjoy the second-screen experiences our products provide.”

No – Sports Betting on WWE Bouts is Out of Bounds

The WWE basically asks its fans to suspend disbelief as the ‘sport’, for all its athleticism, is scripted and outcomes are rehearsed and predetermined. With that being the case, of course, it could be easy enough to manipulate sports betting markets in the Garden State and that is not acceptable with the state regulator, the NJDGE.

Generally speaking, betting is prohibited on events where outcomes are decided before it takes place to safeguard sports bettors and sportsbooks alike from corruption and possible fraud.

Instead, under the deal DraftKings will acquire exclusive access to media assets and in-game branding at WWE pay-per-view events. Additionally, the partnership will feature new gaming contests, products and digital promotions geared specifically at WWE fans and DraftKings users. For example, the DraftKings’ name is set to be highlighted all over Wrestlemania events – the main WWE pay-per-view events.

Stephanie McMahon, the Chief Brand Officer for the WWE said the agreement between the two parties is “a significant step in deepening engagement with our passionate fans and will provide DraftKings the opportunity to leverage the massive appeal and reach of the WWE brand.”

“Enabling fans to make predictions in their pools and then tune in to live matches takes fan excitement to another level. We hope to one day expand this partnership beyond (pay-per-view events) and into our weekly programming,” she added.

A pool is a group betting competition in which the winnings are divided among the participants who make the correct picks and in this case as a part of the DraftKings/WWE deal, it is free to play.

“The free-to-play aspect provides our fans with a fun way to get involved in our marquee events. Those pools aren’t just focused on winners and losers, but intricate details of matches which many times only come to light as part of live competition.” McMahon concluded.

The partnership is a significant extension of WWE’s strategy of collaborating with existing licensees in lieu of creating products in house. That shift in focus began in 2013 with mobile gaming development. Since that time the WWE has more than doubled its previous video game revenue and according to App Annie, a market data and analytics site, the WWE is outperforming the traditional U.S. professional sports leagues like the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Offshore & European Sportsbooks offer WWE – not lost on DraftKings

Some online sportsbooks (not legal in the Garden State it must be prefaced – mostly offshore and European sites) do offer online wagering on the WWE. Maximum bet limits are usually kept small on the WWE and operators have been known to pull those betting markets if unusual betting activity is observed.

However, the offshore and European sportsbooks see value in offering WWE wagering, as whilst on the sites, bettors will usually find other more traditional betting sports to bet on and with more attractive odds and conditions.

DraftKings too, potentially expects more traffic from its increased exposure with its WWE fans, particularly among the valuable 18 to 34 age group that is the WWE’s key demographic.

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