PGA's Monahan Eyes Opportunity In Sports Betting, DFS
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Legal Sports Report

New PGA Tour Commissioner Says He Has ‘Open Mind’ On Sports Betting, Daily Fantasy Sports

PGA Tour sports betting
New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan spoke optimistically about the tour’s future relationship with sports betting, saying his golf organization has an “open mind” about it.

That is a far more liberal viewpoint than many other US pro sports commissioners — other than the NBA’s Adam Silver — have taken on the subject.

What the PGA Commissioner said

The American Gaming Association tracked down the short reference from an interview with Monahan, in which he was asked about sports betting:

Rich Lerner, Golf Channel: “I was reading an article about the NBA. They are embracing sports betting. It’s a huge revenue stream. Is that something you would look at in the future, or is that absolutely off-limits?”

PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan: “Is it something we look at? Absolutely! We always look at something that other sports are doing, having success with, trends in the industry. It’s something we’ve spent a lot of time on up to this point in time. You look at DraftKings and FanDuel, you look at gaming in the international markets, there’s a lot of opportunity there. 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 towards it.”

You can see the interview here here.

Monahan was vague on sports betting, but positive

Monahan was pretty short on the details on what the PGA has done regarding sports betting. In reality, his tone about sports betting is far more important here than the actual details of what he said.

For legal sports betting to gain traction in the US — via a repeal or amending of PASPA — discussion of it needs to continue to be normalized. The commissioner of a major sport in the US saying good things about the future of sports betting, even in very vague terms, helps achieve that end.

He didn’t go quite as far as Silver — who has publicly called for the legalization and regulation of sports betting at the federal level.

PGA had been standoff-ish on daily fantasy sports

Monahan talking directly about daily fantasy sports is also an interesting development (as is the fact that he brought up DFS when asked about sports betting). In 2015, an article at Golf.com classified the PGA as “wary” of the DFS industry because of legal and other concerns:

Tour officials met with the office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on June 3 and emerged convinced that a “conservative approach” was the best way to navigate the uncertain future surrounding the billion-dollar daily fantasy industry.

“We’re just kind of sitting back and seeing how it all plays out,” Tour spokesman Ty Votaw told GOLF.com. “It’s still very unsettled.”

In recent years, fantasy golf has become popular at DraftKings, with millions of dollars in prizes for contests based on the major golf tournaments. FanDuel does not offer golf contests.

Many other major professional sports leagues — the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball for example — have deals with DraftKings or FanDuel. The two companies plan to merge later this year.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.