PGA Tour supporting legal golf betting in 2020 at particular tournaments
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PGA Tour supporting legal golf betting in 2020 at particular tournaments

Now that sports betting has become possible throughout the USA, the stigma of talking about betting odds and favorites and picks each week in professional golf has been lifted.

The PGA Tour has been an advocate for smartly regulated, legalized sports gambling in jurisdictions that want to pursue it, particularly since the United States Supreme Court declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 as unconstitutional and declaring sports betting is legal in the United States on a state-by-state basis.

As a result of the SCOTUS ruling and resulting work by state governments to legalize sports betting, more places the PGA Tour competes each season will have legal sports wagering through online apps and in person. The PGA Tour plans to take advantage of that roll out by supporting mobile golf betting at PGA Tour events where sports betting is legal.

"It's all about engagement," said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to the AFP ahead of the Zozo Championship in Japan.

"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."

The PGA Tour also plans on rolling out gambling-related information and content in their productions in 2020.

For Monahan, the thought process is simple: getting in front of potential issues by creating the PGA Tour's own product.

"As it is becoming legalized by state in the US, you can either participate or not, and we feel smarter to be participating... versus let others control it," he said.

For the European Tour, gambling has long been a part of life, with sports betting prolific throughout much of Europe. In fact, gambling companies have become title sponsors of European Tour events, including the British Masters event.

Monahan is confident the work the Tour has done with data partner IMG Arena and sports-betting integrity firms will help them do as well as the European Tour has in keeping any negative influence out of pro golf outcomes.

"It's legalized in a lot of international markets and we've put the right systems in place," Monahan said, "both in terms of an integrity program and monitoring activity."

The PGA Tour has stops in Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Mississippi and Illinois, all of which have legal sports gaming in some fashion or are working toward it. On top of those states, the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Champions are in Oregon, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee and North Carolina. It's unclear if sportsbooks in states with the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Champions would offer odds on those events.

NOTE: The original version of this article asserted, as suggested in the AFP piece, that the PGA Tour would roll-out on-site golf betting at tournaments where sports betting is legal, starting in 2020. That is not the case.

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