There is hardly any other sport where luck, talent, sensitivity, skill, technique and nerves of steel come together as in golf. In large parts of the USA and Europe, golf enjoys a high reputation. Then it is not surprising that since the removal of the “law prohibiting online gambling” in the USA, many things have changed. And this is mainly due to the PGA Tour.
What is changing in the US states where the PGA Tour will take place? Why do golf bets make sense at the edge of the golf course? How are the golf professionals dealing with this change and how and why are the names of the PGA Tour sponsors changing?
Golf betting directly on the golf course thanks to PGA Tour
At the end of October 2019, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced that from 2020, live sports betting opportunities will be available on the Tour site. The PGA Tour has chosen the sports betting specialist IMG Arena for this purpose. IMG Arena was founded in 2018 with its headquarters in London.
The company offers online bookmakers, also known as bookies, virtual sports products and live streaming. It also offers the company’s own platform for the PGA Tour, collects and evaluates ShotLink data and statistics on every player and player shot. Online sports betting enthusiasts, such as Scientific Games, have already contacted IMG Arena to purchase their feed and use it exclusively for their own online bookies.
IMG Arena has been commissioned by the PGA Tour to bet on PGA Tour matches with legal betting companies. Game-specific, separate video feeds for each match have been under discussion for some time to make betting on golf and the game of golf itself more interesting and to market it.
In order to collect the huge amounts of data, since the introduction of the ShotLink system, volunteers with cameras and tripods, as well as cloud access or hard drives have been standing on the course and recording all sequences in real time. Currently, the ShotLink 2.0 is in use. Even the speed of the balls hit is recorded digitally.
Features and benefits of the IMG Arena ShotLink system:
- Odds of winning
- Suggestions for bets
- Historical references of handicaps
Jay Monahan has been in office since 2017. He understands sports betting and golf as the targeted opening for new sources of income and new markets. This puts Monahan among those who support state-regulated sports betting instead of closing their eyes to it.
The PGA Tour has specially revised its requirements for sponsors. From 2020, gambling companies will be accepted as marketing partners of the PGA Tour. Furthermore, sports betting and online casinos can be actively promoted during the tour.
This means that gambling companies can be present as sponsors for all six tours covered by the PGA Tour. The golfers on the PGA Tour are now also allowed to conclude sponsorship contracts with companies from the gambling industry.
What will golf betting on the PGA Tour look like in the future?
This year 2020 will show whether sports bets will be placed on the edge of the golf course at a stand or via an app mobile. Perhaps even both variants will be used. Monahan continues to emphasize that the on-site systems used to place bets meet the PGA Tour’s high standards for professional golf integrity and activity monitoring.
The PGA Tour thus represents the first sports league in North America to offer and participate in legal sports betting as part of its sport. The popular US leagues NFL, NBA and National Baseball League will soon follow the sports betting pioneer PGA Tour according to expert opinion. What is clear is that only in those US states where gambling is now legal can betting on the tour events locally or from another US state with legalized gambling.
The aim of this “movement” is to attract new, more and younger fans to golf in the medium to long term. The focus is primarily on the already large number of sports betting customers who need to be actively convinced of golf. In this way, fans can concentrate even more on golf and experience the game even more intensively and for longer.
Possible betting scenarios on the PGA Tour:
- Player A wins against Player B – Tiger Woods against Gary Woodland
- Who’s gonna hit his golf ball into the bunker?
- Player A wins by putting his golf ball into hole x
- Determining the score of a golfer
- Which golfer is closer to the flag
- Best player from country x
- Among the best x
The betting odds on the golf games are particularly high because the participants are professionals. Head-to-head betting is particularly exciting in this case. Here two golfers can be selected on the betting slip and bet on their encounter, even if they do not compete against each other in the current tournament. Other betting options include bets on the final result or on individual results.
On average, 144 players participate in a PGA Tour, so that up to 30,000 shots are played within the Tour. This means that betting on golf matches offers significantly more possible betting events than, for example, football bets. In the US state of Nevada alone, bets on golf are close behind bets on football and basketball. With a tendency to grow even further.
Betting on events in golf and the new possibilities
The US Gambling Prohibition Act, which has been in force in the USA since 1992, with the exception of Nevada, to protect professional and amateur sports, was repealed in 2018. By the time the decision to abolish the ban on online gambling was made, 16 of 50 US states were already offering online sports betting. The PGA Tour ran through five of these 16 states. Despite the political opening in 2018, there is still no way to legalise online sports betting in the state of California in 2020.
Through the collaboration between the PGA Tour and Genius Sports, the leading provider of sports integrity services, caddies, players and officials are made aware of the dangers of competition corruption.
Partnerships with the fantasy and gaming industry will continue to be actively promoted to provide sports fans and betting enthusiasts with a deeper experience and connection to the sport of golf. Now sponsors from the online casino, sports betting and fantasy sectors can also carry out marketing measures during the tour. Through this development in the worldwide popular sport of golf, online casinos and sports betting in particular will be able to establish themselves sustainably.