[toc]The PGA Tour is the latest sports organization to take the integrity of its product as it relates to sports betting more seriously.
The professional golf organization announced today that it is launching a new “Integrity Program” starting in 2018 with the help of sports data company Genius Sports.
More on the PGA Tour integrity deal
According to an announcement from the PGA Tour, Genius Sports will launch the new program “to protect its competitions from potential outside influences related to gambling.”
The Tour related that integrity concerns had already been on its radar, but the new program will be more comprehensive. Here is the program’s mission:
“To maintain integrity and prevent and mitigate betting-related corruption in PGA Tour competitions – ensuring competitions always reflect, and appear to reflect, the best efforts of the players, while protecting the welfare of the players and others involved with the PGA Tour – through clear policies and regulations, ongoing education and training, and effective and consistent monitoring and enforcement functions.”
“The bedrock of PGA Tour competitions are the inherent values of golf and the honesty and integrity of our members,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a press release. “We recognize, however, that no sport is fully immune from the potential influence of gambling.
“So, we felt it was important to move forward with an Integrity Program to further protect our competition from betting-related issues. Genius Sports will provide essential support as we roll out the Program across the entire PGA TOUR.”
The deal covers all facets of competition and operations on the six tours overseen by the PGA Tour. Beyond the top-level tour, that includes:
- The Champions Tour
- Web.com Tour
- Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada
- PGA Tour Latinoamérica
- PGA Tour China
The integrity program will cover approximately 140 events per year.
Genius Sports’ role
Genius Sports will be providing services to help aid this new integrity push from the PGA Tour. The company is one of the leaders in the space, along with Sportradar, offering a monitoring system that tracks real-time betting activity and uses proprietary algorithms to identify potentially suspicious patterns occurring in global betting markets.
Genius Sports has also developed “a tailored educational program that will help players, caddies and officials to identify, resist and report incidents of potential betting corruption.” That program includes educational workshops and custom-made e-learning modules in multiple languages.
“We are delighted to partner with the PGA Tour to drive its integrity initiatives,” said Mark Locke, CEO at Genius Sports. “Protecting the integrity of sport has never been of greater importance and it requires forward-thinking organizations such as the PGA Tour to proactively invest in both proven technology and education driven by true expertise.”
Pro sports and game integrity
Leagues and organizations around the world have been teaming up with either Genius or Sportradar for sports betting integrity purposes.
The most famous of those is Sportradar’s with the NBA, a deal believed to be worth a quarter of a billion dollars.
Genius has a variety of deals in place as well, including one in which it monitored betting activity for the Olympics. It also has deals in place with the English Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga in soccer, among other partnerships.
The PGA Tour and sports betting
The need and desire for leagues to work on integrity issues as it relates to sports gambling doesn’t necessarily mean that same organization is gung-ho about a legal sports betting market with regulation. Instead, such deals like the one between the PGA and Genius acknowledge the reality that betting takes place around the world, and monitoring regulated markets is the best way to keep an eye on integrity.
Still, the PGA Tour appears to be more liberal than some of its US counterparts on betting. Earlier this year, Monahan said he has an “an open mind” about sports betting.
The PGA Tour is not party to the current New Jersey sports betting case, which is awaiting its date in the US Supreme Court.