PGA Tour commissioner throws support behind potential legalization of sports gambling

With the Supreme Court getting set to weigh in later this year whether sports gambling is legal, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has taken an official — and quite public — stance on the potential outcome.

“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,” Monahan told USA Today

“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. And we believe we’d reach a much broader audience.”    

It will be fascinating to see how the PGA Tour plans to both profit off of this and also proactively reach a new audience if it is in fact legalized. Monahan has long been a forward thinker, and this would be the latest in a long list of ways he’s progressively pushed golf into a new era.

But this is ground untrodden by any of the major sports. There is a template, obviously, in Las Vegas, but a decision from the Supreme Court will reverberate for years in terms of how leagues monetize and control this on a grander scale.

Still, it sounds like the PGA Tour is well prepared and ready to take action whenever the Supreme Court makes its final ruling later this summer.

“The point some people will make is that we are now actively supporting legalized gambling. Well, yes, we are,” Monahan told USA Today. “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.”

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