January 12, 2017
By David Purdum
The PGA Tour has been examining potential opportunities with sports betting, and new commissioner Jay Monahan says he’ll have an “open mind toward it” in the future.
“You look at [daily fantasy sports providers] DraftKings and Fan Duel, you look at gaming in the international markets, there’s a lot of opportunity there,” Monahan said Tuesday during a television interview with Golf Channel. “There’s some complexity, and that complexity has held us back from moving forward. But we will look at it and have an open mind toward it.”
Traditional sports betting is legal in only a handful of states, with Nevada the only one allowed to offer single-event wagering. But unregulated sports betting is rampant throughout the United States, with hundreds of billions of dollars believed to be wagered annually with offshore sportsbooks and local bookmakers.
Lawmakers are studying the issue, and legislation to overhaul federal gambling laws is being crafted. In addition, the American Gaming Association is forming a coalition that includes sports leagues and plans to begin lobbying to lift the federal sports betting prohibition this year.
“Everyone knows that NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been outspoken on this issue, and we work behind the scenes with the NBA,” Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, said in a December call with media. “We’re also working behind the scenes with others to determine and develop common cause and make sure that when we go to Capitol Hill to support [sports betting] legislation, we do that in a unified way. I expect that to continue throughout 2017.”
The NBA, with Silver leading the way, publicly supports expanding legalized sports betting. In November 2014, Silver wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling for Congress to create a federal framework of regulations and allow states to offer legal sports betting.
Weeks prior to Silver’s op-ed, the PGA Tour declined comment when asked by ESPN about legalizing sports betting in the U.S. The tour has remained quiet on the issue since and is one of the few professional sports leagues that has not yet partnered with a daily fantasy sports provider, such as DraftKings or FanDuel.
A PGA Tour spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the tour’s current position on expanding legal sports betting in the U.S.