Following Supreme Court ruling, PGA Tour is getting ready for sports betting

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Following Supreme Court ruling, PGA Tour is getting ready for sports betting

The United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Monday to strike down a federal ban on sports betting.

The 25-year-old federal law effectively prohibited sports betting outside Nevada. The court ruled other states–such as New Jersey, who brought the case–should not be barred from setting up sports books. The decision should pave the way for other states to expand legalized gambling.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel said,

“State legislatures are put under the direct control of Congress. A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.”

The PGA Tour had anticipated this decision, beginning an “integrity program,” to familiarize players with potential pitfalls of a widely legalized betting.

Speaking at The Players Championship, commissioner Jay Monahan said

“We’ve decided it’s going to lead to more fan engagement opportunities and that’s an opportunity to grow your business, grow your fan base. If it’s regulated at the state level, we think it’s better to be a participant than to be on the sidelines. It’s better to know and be active and learn from it and understand how your fans are responding to it.”

The Tour has also explored commercial opportunities in sports betting, and has offered its ShotLink data to the states for a 1 percent fee.

The 1992 law in question was purportedly aimed at protecting the integrity of sports. However, New Jersey and other states felt that it stripped them of their 10th amendment rights to self-legislate powers not given to the federal government.

Internet gambling changed the sports betting industry, creating a $150 billion industry from which states (other than Nevada) see no revenue. For comparison, Nevada’s sports gambling-related revenue is just $5 billion.

Jay Monahan was acutely aware of this when he first addressed legalized sports betting earlier this year.

“You have 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. There are commercial opportunities for us, which is one of the things we’re here to do, which is to create and maximize playing and financial opportunities for our players.”

Following Supreme Court ruling, PGA Tour is getting ready for sports betting

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