Golf gambling is coming to the United States.
The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling on Monday that struck down the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Act will impact every professional sport. Some 30 states are openly considering allowing some form of sports gambling.
The Tour is in favor of sports gambling and has a robust plan, and of course a cut of the pie, when sports gambling spreads nationwide.
There remain issues to discuss, including, what effect will it have on the PGA Tour? The Tour has proposed licensed books to pay an “integrity fee” to the organization. PGA commissioner Jay Monahan said last month that betting is something he is in favor of legalizing. The Tour reiterated its stance on Monday:
“Following the Supreme Court’s ruling today, the PGA Tour reiterates its support of the regulation of sports betting in a safe and responsible manner. We believe that regulation is the most effective way of ensuring integrity in competition, protecting consumers, engaging fans and generating revenue for government, operators and league.”
Betting opens up a whole new world for the Tour. Golf.com proposes a slew of positive outcomes for legalizing betting including greater fan engagement, more money for the tour and new ways to watch the sport. There are also a lot of things that need discussion, including how to wager and what kind of wagers should be allowed.
There is an idea of having gambling kiosks at Tour events and discussions on how a wager will be accepted. Will bettors be able to bet on individual shots and negative outcomes? How will the Tour help ensure the integrity of the sport if gambling explodes on Tour events?
Lastly, if gambling on Tour events is not only legal but encouraged, what will the atmosphere be like at Tour events?
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell is not shy on his prediction that of all the sports on the landscape, professional golf will be the most changed by betting. What will change according to Mell?
“The game will get a lot richer and a lot less genteel,” he writes.
The fan behavior at golf tournaments could even get more rowdy and unruly. World No. 1 Justin Thomas had a fan ejected from an event earlier this year after the heckler yelled that a shot of his “get in the bunker.”
Will that sentiment increase when there is money on the line? How will a Tour player act if an irate fan loses money he can’t afford because of a poor putt or a great shot?
It would appear that all those issues are secondary to one thing — money. Sports gambling, illegally, is a $150 billion business in the United States, per reports. It’s fitting that the professional sports leagues want their cut of the pie. With many states in a fiscal crisis and strapped for revenue streams, gambling looks like a panacea for those states and municipalities. The State of Connecticut is even considering a special session to legalize sports betting while New Jersey, which initially filed the lawsuit challenging the gambling ban, is primed to go forward with its sports betting plans.
The stars have aligned for sports gambling legalization in the U.S nationwide. There is money to be made, but at what cost?