The PGA Tour is down with gambling on its events.
Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said he would welcome legalized gambling if the Supreme Court overturns a federal ban prohibiting it in most states. Monahan expressed his support for sports gambling, as the NBA and Major League Baseball has done in recent years, according to USA Today on Wednesday.
“You have keep in mind that betting is happening right now, with illegal black markets and offshore betting, and we don’t have any exposure to what is happening,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told USA Today Sports in his first public comments on the issue. “If it’s legalized and regulated, you get to a point where you can better ensure the integrity of your competitions. You can provide adequate protection for consumers, which doesn’t exist today. There are commercial opportunities for us, which is one of the things we’re here to do, which is to create and maximize playing and financial opportunities for our players.
“And we believe we’d reach a much broader audience.”
The Supreme Court will decide the issue before its recess in July as it rules on Christie vs. NCAA. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie sued to strike down the Professional an Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which federally prohibits sports gambling outside of Nevada.
The PGA Tour has investigated the issue of sports gambling over the last several years and, according to USA Today, have met with experts, regulators and the gambling industry on the subject. The Tour would work with bettors to put in proper controls and charge a 1-percent integrity fee. The Tour would also have input on the type of wagers that could make as well as monitoring of suspicious bets in real time. Golfers, caddies and Tour staff would all be prohibited from gambling.
PGA Tour players are aware of the stance on gambling and are “on board” with the move.
“The point some people will make is that we are now actively supporting legalized gambling. Well, yes, we are,” Monahan said. “Because we want to protect the integrity of our competitions, protect the consumer, and there are commercial opportunities. And we have a fan-first mentality. We want to grow and diversify our fan base. There are a lot of things we are doing to address that, and this could be another avenue that contributes to that.
“Like anything else we do, we are being very thoughtful. If we’re to go down this path, and it’s a big if, because at this point there is a lot of uncertainty, we’ll be prepared and we’ll protect our players and protect our constituents who are involved.”
If the PGA Tour has its way, we could be betting on Tiger, Phil and Rory very soon.
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