PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan says his organization is ready to enter the sports betting business. In an interview with AFP at the Zozo Championship in Japan, Monahan said the PGA Tour plans to begin taking wagers on-site at golf tournaments beginning next year.
Monahan did not reveal much by way of details but told AFP, “You’ll start to see product in the marketplace next year.”
Monahan told AFP the PGA Tour has done “a ton of work” and that the decision to offer on-site wagering is “all about engagement.”
When done right, it gives fans the opportunity to engage with your sport over a longer period of time and have more interest in what’s happening across the entire player field.
Integrity Still a PGA Priority
The PGA Tour is no stranger to sports betting and the integrity risks it presents. In 2017, the PGA Tour reached an agreement with Genius Sports to improve the league’s Integrity Program and monitor odds movements at sportsbooks around the world in order to detect suspicious betting patterns.
“I think when we come forward, you’ll see that we’ve taken significant steps to address that,” Monahan told AFP in reference to integrity concerns. “We’re going to participate in a thoughtful way and I’m really comfortable with that.”
“As it becomes legalized by state in the US, you can either participate or not, and we feel smarter to be participating… versus let others control it.”
Monahan has not yet addressed how the PGA Tour will manage any conflicts of interest created by the league accepting wagers on its own events. If sports betting becomes a major revenue source, for example, how motivated will the PGA Tour be to disclose future integrity violations that could threaten the image of its golf betting product?
PGA First Major Pro League to Announce Plans to Take Wagers
The PGA Tour is set to become the first major pro sports league to enter the sports betting business as a direct provider. While the other leagues are cozying up to sports betting to varying degrees, none have announced plans to directly accept wagers from fans.
The ill-fated Alliance of American Football (AAF) attempted to establish itself as the first pro league to make betting a core part of its business but could never fully get off the ground. The dramatic collapse of the AAF within months of its first game leaves the PGA next up to try its hand as an oddsmaker.
To that end, the PGA Tour will extend its existing partnership with sports data provider IMG Arena to develop a sports betting product. The PGA Tour and IMG Arena struck a deal last year to distribute official league data to sports betting operators, including data collected by the league’s propriety ShotLink technology that tracks every shot taken on the PGA Tour.