Speaking publicly for the first time ever about legalized sports gambling in America, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan expressed support for legalization should the Supreme Court overturn the federal ban which prohibits gambling in most cases across America.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision (before July) on whether or not to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 as part of a case between pro sports leagues and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan gave USA Today his first ever comments on this topic and we can now add Golf to the list of sports that will welcome legalized gambling should the Supreme Court overturn the ban:
“You have to 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.
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. The point some people will make is that we are now actively supporting legalized gambling. Well, yes, we are. Because we want to protect the integrity of our competitions, protect the consumer, and there are commercial opportunities. … 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.” (via)
This makes all the sense in the world. Golf is one of the most popular sports to gamble on. You can wager on pretty much every matchup on the PGA Tour every weekend. You can bet on who wins what and when, and you can bet on who won’t win. If you’re the commissioner of the PGA Tour and you see hundreds of millions (billions?) being wagered on Golf then you’re only doing the smart thing by trying to get in on that action.
According to ESPN, the professional sports leagues are advocating for an ‘integrity fee’ which would range between 0.25-1% of all bets and this ‘integrity fee’ would (in theory) be used to ensure the games remain safe. They’re also seeking to ensure that the sports books only use official data provided by the PGA Tour (as is the NBA and MLB).