The PGA Tour will allow on-site gambling at tournaments in the United States next year, according to a report from AFP.
Live betting is to be implemented in an effort to reach new audiences.
The 2019-20 Tour season currently features eight tournaments that are scheduled to take place in U.S. states that have legalised such gaming.
Alongside the addition of sports betting services, the PGA’s official shot data (via the ShotLink system) will soon be sold to betting companies.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, speaking ahead of the inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan, explained the rationale behind the move.
He said: “It’s 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.”
Golf is indeed taking a path that is already well-trodden by a host of popular contemporary sports.
It is not difficult to understand why.
By embracing on-site gambling the Tour will be appealing to a growing audience.
Certainly, the gaming will add another dimension to the tournaments on the season slate, with punters tuning in for the gambling as much as the golf.
Interest in event outcomes are also likely to reverberate throughout the entire field, rather than simply the leaders on Sunday.
What’s more, the Tour clearly stands to benefit from producing the data involved in live betting.
The official data produced by the ShotLink system – a system of lasers and cameras that track every player’s shot for each hole – will be administered to betting operators within North America via the Tour’s relationship with IMG Arena.
Sports consumers will subsequently have access to shot-by-shot action, further selling golf as one of the leading in-play betting sports.
Sports books in the United States have become so common that many fans can now choose to place bets through mobile apps.
Currently, 18 states have passed sports betting legislation – with 13 of these now actively in force.
This ongoing process, according to Monahan, has forced the PGA Tour to conduct a thorough survey of the betting landscape to ensure fixing scandals are avoided.
He said: “As it is becoming legalized by state in the U.S., you can either participate or not, and we feel smarter to be participating…versus [letting] others control it.
“Once you start to participate, you can eliminate negative bets. We’ve done a ton of work to make certain that’s the position we’re in.”
The European Tour will be following suit by offering the ShotLink system at its tournaments next season.