Golf Gambling Grows as PGA Tour Embraces Extra Revenue

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With the coronavirus lockdown proving a difficult spell for sports out there, the PGA Tour has enacted changes allowing more gambling-related activities alongside improving viewership and a two-to-three-fold increase in golf wagering.

Wagering on Golf Increase with PGA Tour’s Blessing

Betting on the outcome of golf tournaments may used to seem a little odd or even a disservice to the game. Yet, with sports betting being legalized en masse, and most recently at the ballot boxes, the lockdown caught many operators unaware of what to offer next. Many shifted to Russian table tennis, Taiwanese baseball, and other exotic sports in the absence of sports to follow, but then realization dawned.

What if sportsbooks were to shift focus to already existing sports at home, such as golf, for example? While the PGA Tour has been reluctant to embrace sports betting innovation, the organization has been quickly adapting to new market realities.

Commenting for the Wall Street Journal, PGA Tour SVP of Media and Gaming Norb Gambuzza said that the organization had thought about opening up to wagering opportunities.

During the lockdown, the Tour saw in gambling-related operations an opportunity to recover and boost its revenue at a time when most other sports had come to a grinding halt. As a result, today tournaments and players may seek sponsorships with gambling operators, although professional golfers are naturally barred from placing a bet themselves.

Golf Viewership Up, Betting on Golf Doubles, Even Triples

In the wake of this partnership, Bryson DeChambeau teamed up with DraftKings and will now sport the DraftKings signage on his cap. Sports betting and gambling firms have seen in golf a worthwhile partner, especially at a time the ingrained social distancing in the sport has allowed it to carry on when other sports struggled, both in terms of organizing events but also in attracting viewership.

Sportsbooks have said that betting on golf has in fact increased several-fold. The WSJ cited between a two and three-fold increase on golf betting. Meanwhile, the betting experience has been evolving for everyone, with in-play wagers increasingly gaining popularity

DraftKings Chief Business Officer Ezra Kucharz has commented for the WSJ that golf is a great sport for betting as it allows a lot of opportunity for placing a bet, tracking live data and making in-play wagers.

PointsBet Head of Trading Jay Croucher noted that live bets are already popular in “more mature markets,” citing the United Kingdom as a prime example. Of course, the PGA tour is also cognizant of the dangers that gambling invites. Phil Mickelson, one of the golfing world’s best-known faces was caught in a rowdy insider-trading scandal, but the PGA has been taking measures. He was cleared of all charges in 2017.

Even before it signed with gambling entities, the Tour established a partnership with Genius Sports, a sports-data firm that tracks irregularities linked to gambling activities. In the meantime, there have been several high-profile partnerships between gambling firms and the PGA Tour, including one with FanDuel and BetMGM. Before DraftKings sealed the deal with DeChambeau, the company was already listed an official PGA Tour betting partner.

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