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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Gambling Companies Finally Qualify for the Tour

With the Tour's announcement Tuesday about gambling sponsorships, it only makes sense to get you up-to-speed on what's involved. So here are a few links to articles on the topic, and a few of my own observations as well.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan

It may seem that I've limited these articles to and, but the other articles I checked seemed to be referencing these articles as well.
This short excerpt from Hoggard's article sums up the basics of the announcement:
The new policy allows players to “have sponsorships by casinos and other legal gambling companies.” A player cannot, however, have an endorsement deal within the United States with a company “whose primary purpose is sports betting.”
The examples the Tour gave players involved daily fantasy companies like DraftKings and FanDuel. Although the circuit considers both “gambling companies,” neither company’s primary purpose is sports betting so endorsement deals with these companies would be allowed.
However, a sponsorship deal with the online gambling company Bet365 within the U.S. would not be allowed, although the new policy does allow players to sign endorsement deals outside the U.S. with a company like Bet365.
My main takeaway from this is that the Tour has decided that it wants to place itself in a very specific position for gambling. Note that players won't be able to sign endorsement deals with "sports gambling companies" based inside the US, but that fantasy golf companies are fair game.

Randall Mell talked to both Graeme McDowell and Billy Horschel, and notes that Billy had the same reaction I did:
Horschel was surprised that the Tour is classifying entities like DraftKings and FanDuel as “gambling companies,” rather than companies “whose primary purpose is sports betting.” That distinction will place fewer restrictions on fantasy sports companies wanting to sign PGA Tour pros to endorsement deals.
Horschel, however, gets it.
I get it too. The Tour wants a piece of the fantasy golf pie, figuring that's where it can most profit without a lot of sticky questions. And all those ShotLink stats are tailor-made for the "safer" kinds of bets; stats, after all, are compiled independent of anything the betting participants can do. In other words, tampering will be less of a concern.

One other interesting note concerns a non-gambling area. The announcement included a ban on sponsorships with companies that create marijuana products. Even though nearly two-thirds of the US have legalized certain forms of marijuana, it's clear the Tour wants to avoid any connection with that.

Again, it makes sense. In the past, criminal groups involved in gambling have often been involved in drugs as well. Appearances do count with the Tour, after all.

So that's the short version of the new Tour gambling sponsorship rules. It will be interesting how this plays out over the next year or so, and whether any unforeseen problems show up.


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