For years, a number of sports leagues, including the NFL, fought to keep legal sports betting out of the US. The PGA wasn’t one of these, although it didn’t embrace it with open arms, either. The tour is now changing it’s stance.
On Monday, the PGA Tour and DraftKings christened the first onsite sports betting facility at a PGA event. TPC Scottsdale in Arizona, which hosts the WM Phoenix Open, now has the first PGA-approved sportsbook.
This could be the start of something wonderful for the PGA and sports bettors. Jay Monahan, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, thinks so, as he told reporters during the inauguration that the launch is a “big deal.”
Slicing Into Sports Betting
In 2018, the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which prohibited legal sports betting. Since then, all major sports leagues – including the NFL – have begun to look at betting in a different light.
It’s no longer a taboo topic. All leagues are forming partnerships with betting operators, and some are even allowing betting kiosks and sportsbooks at certain venues.
The PGA Tour had gone against the grain prior to 2018, showing its support for sports betting. Soon after the Supreme Court’s decision, it was ready to jump into partnerships with different operators, and signed deals with FanDuel and others.
DraftKings became the PGA’s official fantasy sports partner in 2019, and an official betting operator the following year. Last year, it and the PGA Tour announced plans for a sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale, which is finally coming into focus.
The two held a groundbreaking ceremony for the sportsbook on Monday (they broke ground in May, but only now celebrated the event), getting things moving for a grand opening next fall. In addition to Monahan, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins and Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega attended the ceremony, according to Golf.com.
The new sportsbook will feature a “modern vibe,” complete with exclusive VIP areas, indoor and outdoor seating, glass firepits, a bar, and more. TV screens and sports tickers will adorn the walls and other surfaces. Eventually, there will be 40 betting kiosks and seven betting windows.
More PGA Sportsbooks Coming
This is the first sportsbook to come to a PGA Tour site, but not the last. Monahan expects this to serve as a pilot for others, with the possibility that all stops on the circuit might eventually host their own sportsbooks.
We want to make certain we’re focused on, making sure this works and works in a way that creates a great experience for those people that are coming down here,” said Monahan. “I think we’ll take the findings here and as opportunities present themselves, we’ll consider them.”
That, of course, assumes that certain other states legalize sports betting. The PGA Tour schedule for the new season includes stops in North Carolina, Mississippi, Michigan, and other locales that have approved sports betting. However, there are plenty of stops in the US in which legalization is lingering.
Most notable among those are Florida and California, two states with the potential to have massive markets. Texas is on the list as well, as is Kentucky. Additional stops in South Carolina and Georgia will be bet-free through legal channels.
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