A topic which is frowned upon, bookmaker sponsorships in sports. Although many experts in the field understand the problem in full, few take the liberty to speak out. Why? Because they will be bashed eventually, either by betting aficionados, or by sport community members that just like to keep the status quo. We’ll leave it for you to decide where the “yay” and the “nay” come from.

We’re going to try to explain what the problem is, the constraints, and what could eventually happen down the road. One thing’s for sure, although  not set in stone, golf has a future, a bright one.

How Can Betting Companies Influence Golf as a Sport?

Before we start talking about the “what ifs”, let’s first get this over with. How can betting companies influence golf? How can these international bookmakers that have dopamine pumping machines affect golf fans? This is not an article about how golf betting works, this is a blunt attempt to clarify some stuff about the direct relationship between golf players, golf associations and the seemingly infamous betting companies.

In simple words, this is how land based and online bookies can make an impact in the golf community.

  1. Player Sponsorships
  2. Featured Odds
  3. Betting Promotions
  4. Tournament Sponsorships

They have the money, and if not now, in 10 years time players will want to take part in that bookie sponsored tournament just because of the astronomical prize pool. This is the main reason why we’d like to ask you not to make any premature conclusions. We did say the future is not set in stone.

Sponsorships are Not an Option – Not At the Moment

According to the PGA, ads which promote the use of alcohol, tobacco or gambling are a big no. Basically, golf tournaments are treated as if children are in the spotlight, and they also make most of the fan base. Jokes aside, these products/services are completely off limits. Or at least, they are the moment. The US, although not the only region where golf is adored and enjoyed, is the starting point, the root of “most evils”. Up until 2018, sports betting was deemed illegal on the federal level, with only Nevada having a few sportsbooks, and as of 2018 Delaware and New Jersey as well.

Following the supreme court ruling, which paved the way for full on state level regulated betting operations, things can change. And they can change in ways nobody ever imagined, at least not from a golf perspective. Again, although some notable golf community figures state that they do not like bookies on the field, we beg to differ. The excuse is that golf fans can bet on golf whenever they please, since all bookies offer mobile betting. They’re fine with that, but the problem arises when we put some banners of betting companies’ logos.

The “Wind of Change” in Sports Betting Regulation in the US

For those of you that are not into betting, gaming or gambling in general, a lot has happened in the US in 2018. To be precise, the changes started in 2013, with New Jersey giving online gambling the green light. Strong lobbying and a lot of back and forth discussions resulted in what we see today. For years, sport clubs were kept isolated from any betting or gaming companies. How? Well, there weren’t many of them. However, Fantasy Sports sites have been pretty active as far as sponsoring of sports clubs goes. We expect to see a surge in the number of land-based and online betting sites in the states. This will, undoubtedly, steer some attention to golf, as an elite sport, and a place where the said gambling sites can attract high rollers.

It will become a battle for prestige, not as much for customers. To put this into perspective, the PGA will be under colossal pressure from both betting companies, but the golf players themselves. It makes sense to expect their managers to advise them that this will bring them money, more money than what they’re currently getting.

In layman’s terms, it’s going to be a bloodbath, which bookmaker will get the best players, which bookie will manage to get an exclusive sponsorship deal with PGA and so on. The talk about, “we don’t want to corrupt Golf”, “we’re against betting and gambling”, it can be finished in no time with a hefty donation to an agency which promotes responsible gambling. Like we said earlier, if somebody is willing to pay, anything’s possible.

Do Bookmaker Sponsorships Make Sportsmen Corrupt?

This is a sensitive topic, extremely sensitive. Some EU governments have already imposed bans on gambling adverts before, during and soon after sports matches. Moreover, they’ve banned any kind of golf sponsorships related to gambling. Italy was the most recent country that did this.

In order to prove to the general audience, and to official bodies that bookmakers have no influence over the performance of the sports clubs, or players, they’ve established organisations such as EGBA and ESSA. In all honesty, ESSA is an important platform which reassured both authorities and sports fans that they do not have any influence on club management decisions.

Now, the US is lagging behind, but considering their approach on other stuff, we can expect some changes. Needless to say, this process will take years before they become apparent.

Ladbrokes Golf Tournament, William Hill PGA Tour? — Is this the Future of Golf?

Could be. The game will stay the same, but the players will change, so can the sponsors themselves. Money makes the world go round, and it’s about time somebody takes down Rolex. Not that we have anything against it, but a worthy competitor the likes of William Hill would spice things up for sure. Those prize pools will surge, making the tours more attractive, giving Golf as a game more exposure in the media.

You can’t deny if betting companies get a foothold in golf that there  won’t be any benefits. Literally everything can be negotiated.