World news – Golf gambling is about to explode

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Bobby Jones,

The great amateur golfer benefited from his unprecedented accomplishments in 1930, the year he completed the Grand Slam of his time. Thanks to his unlikely participation in the open and amateur championships in the USA and Great Britain, Mr Jones was able to conclude a lucrative film contract, among other things.

Scottish golfer

Bobby Cruickshank

OK too – thanks to Mr. Jones.

When Mr. Jones won the third stage of the slam at the US Open in Interlachen, Minnesota in July, Mr. Cruickshank redeemed a $ 10,500 betting slip, a decent win for the $ 50 he risked with a broker in London in April, the Associated Press reported at the time. Mr. Cruickshank had bet that Mr. Jones would win the first three majors of the year. « I saw Bobby win the Savannah Open, knew what shape he was in, and made the best bet of my life, » Cruickshank said in the article.

Playing in golf – or on it – may not be like that old like the gutta-percha ball that became popular with golfers in the 19th century (although it might as well), but betting on the sport is going to explode in ways that will leave your office pool quaint, cramped, and possibly relatively skimpy

Sports betting has skyrocketed following a 2018 US Supreme Court ruling that struck down federal law regulating sports betting in several states. Between June 2018 – the month after the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the law to protect professional and amateur sports was unconstitutional – and November 2020, more than $ 35 billion was legally wagered on sports, and sports books, nationwide generated revenues of $ 2.5 billion. according to the American Gaming Association. Before the ruling, the association estimates that at least $ 150 billion a year was played for sports in the US – and 97% of that was used illegally.

The PGA Tour, which previously decided the slightest indication of gambling in their tournaments was reluctant, suddenly began to incorporate gambling into their business model. The organization that once scolded

Phil Mickelson

and

Mike Weir

For a $ 500 bet on a lone bunker shot when they saw a playoff between Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk at a world golf championship in Akron, Ohio, they just want this type of gambling to become the norm in the game .

« I would point out that decision as the trigger that led to all of this, » he says

Norb Gambuzza,

Senior Vice President, Media Business Development, PGA Tour. “The PGA Tour, along with every sports league, began wrestling with the idea that sports betting could come our way, whether we like it or not. With that opportunity in front of our faces, we began to say, « OK, if this happens, how are we going to do it in a way that works for our company? »

In anticipation of the Supreme Court decision, the tour ran in late 2017 has an integrity program to protect all of its tournaments on the six racetracks from possible outside influences related to gambling. Next, the company announced a global partnership with IMG Arena to license its ShotLink scoring data (a system the Tour introduced in 2004 to collect data on every shot from each player) to online betting companies and sports media companies .

Since then it has forged relationships with official betting providers

DraftKings

(which hosts the PGA Tour’s official daily fantasy game), BetMGM, PointsBet and FanDuel, and has a content platform partnership with the Action Network to create GolfBet, a cooperative, golf-focused betting content platform. There are complex permutations for the various deals, but suffice it to say that the serious gamer and casual fanatic have many options for accessing the golf game environment.

Much is at stake, but in general the odds are for the tour and its partners, sponsors and membership events for their benefit, if you will. Because of that, the tour took this step and did so aggressively.

« Sports betting can help [the tour] in two really big ways, » says Gambuzza. “One is the deeper engagement of the core fan that makes him or her watch another 15, 30, 45 minutes per weekend. And the second draws a younger and more diverse audience. “

This engagement affects tour stakeholders in a rising tide and all boats scenario, adds Gambuzza. There is the potential for higher TV ratings, which means stronger backing from advertisers and tournament sponsors. Touring events in states where gambling is legal could expect an increase in attendance and value for the hospitality areas (once the Covid pandemic is gone).

Who still benefits from it? Golf websites. For example, Golf Digest has a weekly podcast called « Be Right » and a range of online editorial content devoted to gambling. (Disclosure: This author is contributing to golfdigest.com, but not its game content.) « At Golf Digest, we knew this was going to be huge in golf because recreational gambling is such a big part of the game Game, « he says

Stephen Hennessey,

deputy editor-in-chief and co-host of the “Be Right” podcast, which recently picked up on the London-based bookmaker

William Hill

as a sponsor.

And the driveways are becoming much busier. At the moment, betting in golf is mainly limited to so-called « static » bets: Select a player to win, land in the top 10 or beat another player directly. « Prop » bets can include the over-under how many balls found the water on the 17th hole in the recently concluded Players Championship. But that just scratches the surface.

The holy grail is in-game betting, and the possibilities are endless as it represents the ability to bet on every shot a player makes during the competition. For example, a player can bet on a player’s prospects of converting a 10-foot putt to a hole, or whether another player can hit the green on a par-3 hole. Golf has advantages built in to taking advantage of this, namely its huge cache of player statistics, deliberate pace, and the sheer number of strokes per tournament. Mr. Gambuzza says a typical PGA Tour season produces approximately 1.2 million golf shots.

In-play golf betting was introduced in 2018 during « The Match, » the $ 9 million showdown between Mr. Woods and Mr. Mickelson in Las Vegas. More recently, the tour, along with NBC Sports and PointsBet, presented a golf betting simulcast of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on NBC’s Peacock Premium Service. The show, which ran concurrently with regular coverage of the tournament, focused on odds and presented up to 500 betting options.

« There are some sports that are really well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity, and it does is baseball and golf because of the amount of content and the pace of the game, « said Scott Warfield, vice president of gaming for the tour.

While many players see the potential benefits of infusing gambling into their competitions, some have reservations.

Justin Thomas,

A major champion and a member of the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council, he expressed concern in February that an on-site player could be prone to compromising competition by having a stroke. It can be as simple as a sudden loud noise or a scream during a player’s swing. « At the end of the day you can’t sit there and tell me that this is not a realistic chance, » he said.

Mr Gambuzza acknowledges that there are risks but points out that betting on golf is not quite new is. « In the UK and other parts of the world this has long been legal without incident, » he says.

Max Wright, Senior Vice President of IMG Arena, believes golf could become one of the most attractive sports for consumers to look to you can bet. « However, it will take a few years to reach this level of saturation. »

Ref: https://www.wsj.com

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